Q & A with GP2's Bruno Michel

Conducted and provided by GP2 media services.

Q & A with GP2's Bruno Michel

Q. Bruno, four races down. Are you pleased with the show?

Bruno Michel - GP2 series organiser: Absolutely! In the four races we've had so far, we've seen four different drivers on the top step of the podium. We've seen some great racing, some great overtaking. All in all I'd say we've had a very promising start to the season and it's exactly what we were looking for.It's great to see tyre smoke at the start of a race on an F1 weekend again. When was the last time you saw somebody take the lead in a series at this level on opposite lock as we did with Carroll in Imola? The racing is close and exciting. This season is shaping up to be very, very competitive.

Q. The sporting regulations were changed between Imola and Barcelona. Did they have the desired effect?

BM: When we came up with the idea for the GP2 series, we wanted it to be the perfect training ground for the future drivers, engineers and mechanics of Formula One. With that in mind, pitstops were clearly something we had to include. In modern F1, the majority of races are broken up into three parts with two fuel stops. That's why we opted for two compulsory pitstops in our original sporting regulations. Clearly, in Imola, we realised it might have been a bit too confusing for the fans. So we changed to this new scenario of one stop with a compulsory change of at least two tyres for the long race. The results were obvious for everyone to see. We had a very exciting race in Barcelona, with a close finish and a lot of action. And with only one stop it was easier to follow. Also, having a compulsory tyre change also tests the team in pressure situations. It's an extra element of excitement.

Q. What about the fastest lap regulation?

BM: It was changed to avoid a situation where a team could exploit the rules to go out with an advantage of, say, low fuel, and set a quick lap that nobody could beat and then retire from the race. By awarding fastest lap in both races only to classified drivers, we have ended up with a double battle in both races. In Race 2 in Barcelona, Rosberg and Sharp were exchanging quickest lap every lap in the closing stages. I found it very exciting.

Q. An integral part of putting on a good show is a reliable car. How happy are you with that aspect of the series following the first four races?

BM: It is clear that we were not up to the standard we wanted in Imola. That said, one has to remember that this is a brand new series, and that the level of performance we wanted to reach with an affordable car was very high. However, looking at where we are after Barcelona, I think it would be fair to say that we have reacted well to the issues we encountered. We made some important evolutions and upgrades at Imola, and for Barcelona. We will make more between Barcelona and Monaco. And, as Bernard Dudot has assured, the car will have every crease ironed out by the time we arrive at the Nurburgring. We made a test with the development car before Barcelona, and we will make another one before Nurburgring. We are working every minute of the day to ensure that this series is the best it can be, and I think that was clearly in evidence in Barcelona.

Q. Finally, Bruno, the global exposure for the GP2 series has been very promising. You must be extremely happy.

BM: No other motor racing series other than Formula One, has received better coverage than the GP2 series. Obviously this makes me happy, and it is great to see the figures rising. We've put agreements in place with Eurosport in over 50 countries. Major European terrestrial companies such as Telecinco (Spain), ITV (Great Britain), RTL (Germany), and Rai (Italy) have also chosen to promote the GP2 series this year. Telecinco, Spain's premiere terrestrial television station, reported 23% of the total Spanish viewership at Imola. This figure increased to 32% in Barcelona, which amounts to over 2 million people. In Finland, on MTV3, the GP2 series is receiving more viewers than the WRC: more than 500,000 people. Our website is getting over 30,000 hits a day during our race weekends, and more and more people are catching the GP2 bug. We have coverage in the written press all over the world, from motorsport specific magazines and journals, to daily newspapers and lifestyle publications. The press at large has been very quick to pick upon the GP2 series and its potential. As the season progresses, I am confident that our championship will gain more and more fans.

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