GP2 bosses considering winter series

Organisers of the GP2 series are currently considering a winter series to be run at the conclusion of this year's championship

GP2 bosses considering winter series

The 2006 season was due to finish at the Belgian Grand Prix weekend in Spa on September 17, but as a result of Formula One cancelling the round the series is now likely to conclude in Monza on September 10, leaving approximately six months before the start of the 2007 season.

Given the length of this break, and despite looking for an alternate venue for the season closer in the interim, series organisers are working on establishing a winter series which would allow the teams to test potential drivers for the new year, and are currently working on a way to make the mini-series financially viable.

It is likely that the winter series will run in the middle east, with three races per weekend at tracks in Bahrain, Dubai and Qatar. Bahrain hosted the GP2 season finale in 2005, but has been dropped from the calendar for this year.

It is believed that all thirteen teams have been advised of the potential series, and while a number of them are also involved in the A1 GP series, which is likely to run over the same period, the response has generally been favourable.

When asked for his opinion on the possible extra series, Racing Engineering team principal Alfonso de Orleans told autosport.com: "I think it's a great idea, as long as we can pull the finances together.

"If we can do that it will allow the teams to survive the winter, and hopefully will also offer the fans there some close racing, and the drivers an exciting new series."

The financial structure of the deal is seen as the sticking point on announcing the deal, although sources close to the series have advised that a number of 'big name' sponsors are being courted as naming rights sponsors of the series in return for paying the team costs to attend on the three weekends.

When approached on the subject, a spokesman for GP2 refused to comment on the possibility of a winter series, but when pushed would not deny that it was a "strong possibility" for the end of this year.

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