Sam Bird believes Russian Time capable of 2013 GP2 title challenge
|By Glenn Freeman||Thursday, March 21st 2013, 07:26 GMT|
Sam Bird believes that his new GP2 team Russian Time is capable of fighting for the title in its rookie season.
The team has taken over the entry of frontrunning squad iSport, which won the drivers' title in 2007 with Timo Glock.
Its Russian owners have spoken of fighting for wins as soon as possible, and Mercedes F1 tester Bird reckons it can be done.
"I believe that good things can come from this," Bird told AUTOSPORT. "I know it's a new team but they have a good base.
"As long as we learn there is no reason why we can't fight for good things at the end of the year.
"I haven't driven a GP2 car in a year and a half, but the aim is to outscore as many people as possible at the first round and prove that we can be a title contender."
Russian Time has not had to rely on its budget coming from its driver line-up, so it has been able to recruit two GP2 race winners in Bird and Tom Dillmann.
Bird, who only landed the deal with less than a week before the first round at Sepang this weekend, believes that the team's approach is good enough to be a contender in the F1 support series.
"It's an extremely professional outfit," he said. "Having spoken to them and seen what they've been up to, the preparation and their attention to detail shows how serious they are.
"This is not just a team buying another team, it's a team that genuinely wants to win and they're going about it in the right way.
"I believe we should only be aiming for the highest positions, and with the people that we have on board, there is no reason why we can't achieve the maximum in the team's first year."
Bird added that he was relieved to land a race deal so late in the day, as he was facing a season spent on the sidelines.
"To be able to race in one of the feeder series to F1 is amazing," he said. "When you don't have a drive and something else comes up at the last minute it makes you realise how lucky you are.
"I need to thank Russian Time for their confidence in me, but also Toto Wolff and Ron Meadows at the Mercedes F1 team and my management CJ Motorsport.
"They have all helped this deal fall into place and have put in a lot of work."