Pantano "abandoned" by F1 teams

Giorgio Pantano says he feels abandoned by Formula One with no teams looking at him despite him winning this season's GP2 championship

Pantano "abandoned" by F1 teams

The 29-year-old Italian, who raced for Jordan in 2004, beat Bruno Senna and Sebastien Buemi - who are both being considered for F1 race seats - to the GP2 title this year, but has no options himself - the first time since GP2's inception in 2005 that its champion has not found a drive in F1.

"I challenge anyone to have a CV as good as mine," Pantano told Autosprint. "I won two karting world titles, three European, three Italian, German F3, GP2 and was always at the front in F3000. But now I don't have a seat in F1, is this a joke?

"That's what it's like now, if you don't get in touch with people, no one looks for you. I feel abandoned.

"The only person behaving fairly has been Ecclestone. I called him a few days ago and after ten minutes he called me back. The only real drives still available are at Honda and Toro Rosso. Bernie told me that if anything moves, I'll be the first to know.

"But I feel total indifference towards me. I read of Senna and Buemi but, really, what have they done? At this point, a guy in my situation must think that being a racing driver is not advantageous, doing another job would be better."

Pantano believes that a driver's talent is no longer relevant if he cannot bring substantial financial backing to a team.

"Money is becoming the priority in order to race, talent doesn't exist any more," he said. "I think I could still do six or seven years in F1 at high levels.

"I would just like someone to let me test an F1 car. Once the test is done, they'd tell me whether I could be a possible world champion or not. That would give me peace of mind.

"I just want a credible test, a real chance that puts me in the conditions of being properly assessed."

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Series Formula 1
Author Steven English
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