World Series by Renault runner-up Julien Jousse has announced he will be snubbing a graduation to GP2 in favour of a spot on the new Formula 2 grid in 2009.
The Frenchman, who won one race on the way to second place in the standings behind champion Giedo van der Garde, has become the first high-profile signing to the new Formula 2 series, which is being launched in 2009 as a 'low-cost' alternative to GP2.
Indeed, Jousse admits he considered offers in GP2 and the Japanese Formula Nippon series, but settled for Formula 2, claiming its 'second-tier' image and cost effectiveness makes it a more attractive option for sponsors in a time of economic crisis.
“I am looking forward to testing this new Williams-designed Formula 2 car, which will be powered by a turbocharged Audi engine” he said. “Former F1 driver Jonathan Palmer's company, MotorSportVision, which was appointed to run the cars and operate the series, has a highly professional approach. We instantly got along together. Of course I will move to England to pursue my racing career.”
“I ran over several options for 2009, such as graduating to the GP2 Series, following successful tests on a wet Paul Ricard circuit, or moving to Japan and becoming a professional Formula Nippon and GT racer.
“But in the end, I choose Formula 2 because FIA's support is the key to the championship's future success, and because of the possibility to receive a Formula One test with Williams, which I came close to achieving this year with Renault…
“I also think that bringing the Formula 2 name back to the sport as a stepping stone for Formula One is a major decision, regarding the challenging economic circumstances. Today it is essential for the sponsors to have a clear understanding of how drivers climb up the ladder and make it in F1.”
In the meantime, Jousse is targeting a sportscar seat in 2009, possibly in FIA GT or the Le Mans Series, while he is hoping to make his Le Mans 24 Hours debut next season too.
“My aim is to be racing in the Le Mans 24 Hours at the wheel of a GT1, LMP1 or LMP2 car. I am also considering Le Mans Series opportunities, but we haven't signed anything yet.”