Comtec contemplating F1 feeder series switch
Michael BaileyNorfolk could have a new member added to its contingent competing in Formula One's official feeder series, GP2, from next season. Carleton Rode-based iSport and David Sears' Super Nova Racing from Griston have both had success on F1's supprt circuit, which includes Europe's F1 weekends.Michael Bailey
Norfolk could have a new member added to its contingent competing in Formula One's official feeder series, GP2, from next season.
Carleton Rode-based iSport and David Sears' Super Nova Racing from Griston have both had success on F1's supprt circuit, which includes Europe's F1 weekends.
Now iSport's near neighbours, Comtec, are looking to join the fun from 2011.
The 2006 World Series by Renault champions currently have promising drivers Greg Mansell and Stefano Coletti operating around the Formula 3.5 championship after ignoring the possibility of joining GP3 - a tier added to the FIA's route from grassroots driving to the big time from 2010.
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After a winter of their own restructuring, team manager John Barnett admitted Comtec are eyeing a move into GP2 next season - despite the current financial climate.
'Times are hard at the moment, for industry and sponsors alike, and it would be very difficult to probably go into something like GP2 - although we are looking at GP2 for next year,' said Barnett. 'It's something to look at, definitely. There are a few changes going on in GP2.
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'They will be running a new car and will be inviting new teams in next year, so if you're going to do it, that would be the opportunity to do it.
'GP3, which is a new formula this year, obviously that wasn't on our horizons for this year. But I don't think it is the sort of formula that would suit Comtec really.'
Not that Barnett expects Comtec to be rivalling its county rivals in GP2 should they get the nod from the FIA, who are set to begin its process for selecting teams this month.
'I wouldn't say,' laughed Barnett. 'It is something to look at. Obviously you tend to keep your options open.
'You never know what is going to happen in motor racing so you always to do that and we will see what happens towards the end of the year.
'It is a big step. The driver budgets are double what you have in World Series, so you've got to find drivers that have got very good funding.
'But I think it would be a logical step for Comtec, and Pierre Moncheur - our team owner - is interested in getting to the top, so maybe it would be an option.'
Comtec have stuttered in recent rounds despite a promising start. But Barnett remains positive the season can end on a high and he will play his part; speaking during the team's pit stop practice, which included his own rehearsals with the jack.
'It's nice to be involved on that side of the team really,' said Barnett. 'Obviously if I make a mistake I can only blame myself.
'I've had a couple of injuries over the last couple of years. I'm just about to lose a toe nail through Stefano overshooting the pit stop at Spa, straight over on my foot. I've actually had some injuries doing the static ones too!'