GP2 Series stalwarts Durango have confirmed that an official entry application has been lodged with the FIA to join the top flight in 2011 – as the team's founder explained that the Italian outfit's absence from the F1 feeder category this year was something of a step backwards in order to move forwards.
Since GP2 took over from International F3000 at the beginning of 2005, Durango has achieved three race victories – one of which came courtesy of current Hispania F1 rookie Karun Chandhok in 2007. However, in the wake of Stefano Coletti's hefty Eau Rouge accident at Spa-Francorchamps last season – only the Monégasque ace's third outing in the championship – the squad found itself forced to withdraw from participation, with an injured driver, written-off car and growing financial issues.
The team has not competed in GP2 since, similarly pulling out of the 2009/10 Asia Series and 2010 summer campaign – but with new sponsors having come forward to guarantee Durango's future, the Veneto-based operation's team boss Ivone Pinton has explained that the timing is now right to bid for a break into the big time, with an available spot on the grand prix grid in the offing next year as a result of the well-documented débâcle
“After all the wrong things which happened last season, we tried our best to look for new partners for our racing activities,” he revealed. “It did not take too long to understand that the interest arose for Formula 1 and nothing else, so we pushed towards that direction and I can say that, to enter F1, we can now enjoy having the backing of two very big international groups.
“Even keeping our feet on the ground, I like to consider that, after so many years spent pushing young drivers towards becoming future champions, the time has now come to strongly push Durango as a team towards the pinnacle of motorsport.”