Having been overlooked for a Formula 1 seat in 2009, Giorgio Pantano has now revealed that he has 'been in touch' with a number of the top flight's potential new entrants for next season, as he bids to re-ignite a grand prix career that stalled five years ago.
The Italian competed in F1 with Jordan Grand Prix back in 2004, but was released from his contract in favour of Timo Glock before the end of the campaign after failing to register a point in the first 15 outings and out-qualifying team-mate Nick Heidfeld on just five occasions.
Though the car hardly set the world alight, first impressions proved to be costly indeed and Pantano was not afforded a second chance to prove his mettle. Instead, the Padua native was left to step down to ply his trade in the nascent GP2 feeder series, with a brief two-race sojourn across the Pond in the Indy Racing League with multiple champions Chip Ganassi in 2005, taking the chequered flag a competitive fourth in the penultimate meeting at Watkins Glen.
Then, after no fewer than seven years and 15 victories in the category – including in its erstwhile guise as International Formula 3000 – the 30-year-old finally clinched the GP2 drivers' crown in 2008, seeing off the threats of young guns Bruno Senna and Lucas di Grassi to lift the laurels.
With still no F1 interest, however, he earned the unenviable record of becoming the only driver in the championship's brief history not to graduate to the grand prix grid the following season. That may now be set to change.
“The entry of new teams is probably the most likely situation in which I can be in Formula 1,” he told GPWeek
. “I've been in touch with some of the new teams who want to come in and, well, we need to see what happens in the next two weeks. Campos is one of the teams I've been talking to.”
Pantano competed for Campos Grand Prix in GP2 in 2007, notching up a brace of wins and four further rostrum finishes en route
to third in the title standings, and the team's former owner – ex-grand prix ace Adrian Campos – confirmed late last week that he had become the first new hopeful to lodge an F1 entry application for 2010 under the name of Campos Meta 1 [see separate story – click here