GP2's newest entrant, Team AirAsia, has opted for experience when it comes to its driver line-ups for this year's GP2 Asia and GP2 main series.
Davide Valsecchi won the GP2 Asia championship last year and came eighth in the GP2 series racing for iSport. The 24-year-old Italian is one of GP2's longer-serving drivers, having first raced for Durango in 2008-9 before a brief switch to Barwa Addax.
Brazilian Luiz Razia first entered GP2 Asia for the 2008-9 season with Trust Team Arden, but only ran for two of the four weekends in last year's Asian season. He competed in the 2009 GP2 main series for Fisichella Motor Sport before switching to Scuderia Coloni, and then settled in for a full season with Rapax for 2010 in which he finished 11th.
"Luiz and Davide will be driving for us this season," confirmed team principal Riad Asmat. "They bring us a wealth of talent and experience in GP2 with a proven record of strong results, so we are very excited about the season ahead. Team AirAsia is the perfect platform for young talent to develop."
Even before the official announcement, both drivers had already been in action for the team at this week's first two-day testing event at Yas Marina in Abu Dhabi, with Valsecchi in the top ten in both morning and afternoon sessions on day two showing that the team was straight up to speed.
"I am so happy to be part of Team AirAsia this season," said Valsecchi. "It's such a great championship and the team and I have a lot to look forward to in GP2. I intend to draw on my GP2 experience and work closely with the team to get the best results possible with one aim - to win the 2011 championship."
Razia declared himself "absolutely delighted to be joining Team AirAsia." The 21-year-old continued: "My relationship with the team is already fantastic and Team AirAsia has a very exciting future ahead. I'll use my experience to give my best in the GP2 championship and I'm sure that with the calibre of people involved in Team AirAsia we will achieve success very soon and be challenging for points, podiums and race wins whenever possible."
Team AirAsia gained entrance to the GP2 series for the first time this year along with fellow debutants Carlin. The team was created by Tony Fernandes who runs Team Lotus F1, with the two operations very integrated and sharing headquarters, resources and technical staff. It has already been hinted that both drivers may also get opportunities to run in the F1 car during Friday morning practice sessions at Grand Prix weekends.
Valsecchi has already made his F1 testing debut over the winter with HRT, while Razia was Virgin Racing's official test driver in 2010.