GP2 confirms Asia Series merger from the 2012 season

The GP2 Series and GP2 Asia Series will be merged from 2012 onwards, as predicted by AUTOSPORT in May

GP2 confirms Asia Series merger from the 2012 season

Series CEO Bruno Michel announced that the two series would be combined, creating a longer championship which will include non-European rounds.

He also revealed plans for a standalone GP2 final at the end of 2011, held predominantly with the aim of giving new drivers their first experience of GP2 machinery.

GP2 Asia was introduced in 2008 and was originally seen as a separate championship, with different teams and drivers to the main series.

It has increasingly been used by drivers as a precursor to the main GP2 Series however, and with this year marking the first time that both championships had featured the exact same teams and the same generation car, Michel explained it was a logical choice to merge the two.

"In 2011, almost eighty-five percent of the drivers who did the Asia Series this season are taking part of the European Series as we are using the GP2/11 car in both categories," Michel said.

"This year also marked the fact that for the first time the same thirteen teams entered both Series. We talked to them and we decided that it was logical to have one single Series from 2012."

The decision comes after the 2011 GP2 Asia Series had to cancel two of its three rounds, which were due to be held in Bahrain. The series was actually in the country when the decision was made.

Michel believes a merged series will benefit drivers by giving them greater experience of F1 circuits, with the new championship set to incorporate non-European rounds.

"The merger will definitely help drivers gain even more experience on Formula One circuits throughout the world and will make the Series even more attractive and competitive," he said.

"We will announce the 2012 calendar and the number of rounds at a later date."

The merger will happen after a single race weekend held alongside the penultimate round of the 2011 Formula 1 championship at Abu Dhabi on November 12-13.

All 13 GP2 teams will be competing for a prize fund while young bloods gain experience of the third generation GP2/11 car.

"We had planned to go back to Abu Dhabi in November since the beginning of this year, so we decided that we would have one single race event called The 2011 GP2 Final there," Michel revealed.

"It will be a fantastic opportunity for drivers who wish to do GP2 Series next year to try and have their first taste of the category in race conditions. It will also be a fantastic occasion for our teams to try new drivers and start working with them."

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