Gutiérrez and Bottas pave the road to success for future GP3 drivers
Since its inception in 2010, the ultimate goal of GP3 Series was to make it the perfect stepping stone for young drivers to graduate to GP2 and then to Formula 1. Within just three years, this objective has been achieved following the recent announcements that GP3′s inaugural champion Esteban Gutiérrez and his successor Valtteri Bottas will both race in Formula 1 in 2013.
Gutiérrez was named test driver for Sauber F1 following his GP3 success in 2010 and graduated to GP2 in 2011, clinching third place in the 2012 season. The Mexican was rewarded at the end of the year with a full time drive with the Swiss outfit and became the first GP3 Champion to climb to the impressive heights of F1.
After he clinched the 2011 GP3 crown, Champion Bottas spent a year as Williams test driver, regularly in the car for Friday practices, and once the season reached its close, the Finn was confirmed with the British team for the upcoming campaign, becoming the second successive GP3 title winner to reach the pinnacle of motorsport.
There are further exciting times ahead in 2013, with the Series going from strength to strength with the eagerly anticipated second generation car. The introduction of the more powerful GP3/13 machine will reinforce GP3 as the best category to progress up the ranks to GP2 and F1.
In 2012, half of the F1 grid was made up of GP2 graduates. With GP3 Series racing on the same circuits as Formula 1 and learning the vital tyre management skills racing on Pirelli tyres, the tools are firmly set in place for many more accomplished GP3 drivers to follow in the footsteps of Gutiérrez and Bottas and make it to the ultimate goal: Formula 1.
GP3 Series CEO Bruno Michel commented: “When we launched GP3, we wanted to create a clear path for young drivers towards GP2 and F1. We carefully crafted the best tools to prepare them for the next steps and we have seen for the past three seasons that not only did GP3 attract some of the greatest and most promising talents in motorsport, but it’s become a real platform for them to make it to the ultimate step as Gutiérrez and Bottas have proven. Having two of our Champions already in F1 after such a short period of time is beyond our expectations and talks volume of the quality of our Series.”
source: GP3 Series