Q & A with ART's Frederic Vasseur

With a lead of 37.5 points after race two at Spa today, ART Grand Prix became the first team to win the GP2 Championship. Autosport-Atlas talked exclusively to ART's General Manager, Frederic Vasseur

Q: First of all, congratulations on a great job. How does it feel to lead the team to the first Team's Championship in GP2?

Frederic Vasseur: "Thank you. For sure it feels great, but until the end of race it felt a little bit strange, and we are a little bit unhappy because the Driver's Championship is still there. At the beginning of the season we did not expect to win the Championship, but for sure the feeling is great!"

Q: How difficult has the season been for you and the team?

Vasseur: "It was a strange season, but it was the same for everyone - at the beginning we had a few problems, but we improved a lot after the test season, which I think was a big change for my team - we improved a lot, and we were competitive for three or four events. GP2 is a nice series because even if you are on top then the next day you start at the back, and then you have a big fight. We will see in Bahrain, but for sure it would be nice to win both Championships."

Q: You are competing against a number of teams who competed in Formula 3000 - how much of a disadvantage was that for you?

Vasseur: "For sure they had more experience, and we didn't know all of the tracks, which was the main problem - on the car, it's a new car for everybody. It was our first time on carbon brakes, so many horsepower, and it was not easy and we had to learn a lot, but on the track it was difficult because there was a lot that we have not done before - Monza, Imola, Budapest - but now it's the end of the season, and it's fine."

Q: How important is it for the team to have won this first Championship?

Vasseur: "We started at the beginning of the season and we wanted to win one race, and we thought we would be able to win one race, but we were on the first podium in Imola and then again in Magny Cours in the second race I think. For sure I think when we won we thought 'okay, now we have to win another one, and another one, and another one', and then we were in the fight for the Championship.

"We had a big advantage that we had two drivers who were very competitive, and a lot of other teams, like Arden and Super Nova, I think they had one good guy and one a little bit slower - this was a good point for us to win the Championship, I am one hundred percent sure, to have the sportive fight in the team. And we can improve a lot, because we had two good drivers in the cars."

Q: The turnaround in the season came after the mid season test in Paul Ricard - what happened there that made the team so much better?

Vasseur: "You know, I think that during the winter tests we had a lot of problems, and the we didn't know the first tracks, Imola and Barcelona - it was so difficult because, when you don't know the track, you have to learn them. For sure we came back after the test in Paul Ricard because we were there with two cars, in a good condition, and we just improved a lot."

Q: Any predictions for Bahrain?

Vasseur: "No - I prefer to be focused on the level of performance of the team, and we'll see during the race. I don't know exactly the situation of Alex in the Championship, but he can fight for the third place, so that will be good."

Q: And Nico?

Vasseur: "Oh - Nico can fight for first place!"

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