Davide Valsecchi, the reigning GP2 champion, insists he would rather be Lotus’ reserve driver than a racer for one of F1′s slowest teams.
A look at the standings of last year’s GP2 championship shows that drivers Italian Valsecchi beat to the title – Esteban Gutierrez, Max Chilton and Giedo van der Garde – have successfully made the step up to the F1 grid for 2013.
But 26-year-old Valsecchi, struggling with fewer sponsors, has to be content with the reserve role at Lotus, having admitted recently that he received offers to race, but only if he could meet those teams’ sponsorship needs.
Asked how he is enjoying his new job, he told Russian website f1news.ru: “Fantastic.
“Last year I won the GP2 title, now I’m making the first steps in F1.
“I will try to learn as much as possible from Kimi Raikkonen, and eventually become a driver the team will hopefully choose (to race) for next season.”
Asked if he is disappointed that those he beat last year – Luiz Razia, Gutierrez, Chilton and van der Garde – were all offered race seats before him, Valsecchi smiled: “Good question!
“No. I didn’t have the opportunity to race; this is the only opportunity I had, and for this I say thank you to Lotus.
“Some of my colleagues of GP2 are now with Marussia and Caterham. First, to get there you need a huge budget, which is impossible to find in Italy.
“Secondly, Lotus is one of the best teams. A top team.
“If the question is whether it is better to be chasing with one of the last teams or to be a backup driver with Lotus, maybe opening up something really worthwhile for the future, I would have chosen the second option in any case,” he insisted.