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Extended roles for Razia, Valsecchi and Leal

GP2 drivers Luiz Razia, Davide Valsecchi and Julian Leal all celebrated good news today with announcements of new roles with their respective organisations.
Team AirAsia drivers Luiz Razia and Davide Valsecchi were today confirmed as having official new roles with the outfit's F1 parent, Team Lotus, alongside their already-confirmed season-long stints in the GP2 Main Series.

Razia has been awarded the "third driver" position and will be the official stand-in should either of Lotus' two main drivers, Heikki Kovalainen and Jarno Trulli, be unavailable for any reason, while Valsecchi meanwhile has been appointed the official F1 team test driver and like Razia will get to run in the Lotus car during Friday practice sessions at the Grand Prixs.

"We are very pleased to have confirmed that Luiz, Davide and Ricardo [Teixeira, the long-standing second test driver] will all be extending their relationships with the Team Lotus family," said Team Lotus CEO Riad Asmat.

Meanwhile, Rapax's second driver Julian Leal learned today that his GP2 Asia series-only deal has been picked up and converted into a full season contract for the GP2 Main Series as well, alongside his senior team mate Fabio Leimer.

"Before entering the GP2 Asia Series, I hadn't decided to continue in the championship and enter the GP2 Main Series," confessed the 20-year-old Colombian. "The first contact with the team proved key in my decision, as I fell in love with the car at the first testing occasion we had last November. I found out that it's a complete and valuable race car that provides a great stepping stone for F1.

"I experienced a great relationship with the Rapax team since the first moment. I'm sure that the team's technical staff and personnel will be able to help me grow up and achieve some valuable results. At Abu Dhabi I also established a great connection with my team-mate Fabio Leimer, and I feel that we will have chances to do great things together."

The team's managing director, Andrea Bergamini, confirmed that they were "extremely happy to continue in the collaboration," nothing that Leal's "approach to the first round of the season at Abu Dhabi proved extremely professional, despite some unfortunate coincidences preventing him from scoring some well-deserved top-notch results.

"We're proud to contribute to his growth, and at the same time we're extremely pleased to have two young and talented drivers with us."

With the political unrest in Bahrain having led to the cancellation of two of GP2 Asia's three race weekends and seemingly limiting Leal's participation to just the one outing at Abu Dhabi, the new deal means that he will not only get an outing at the historic Imola circuit next week in GP2 Asia's replacement event, but will also have nine weekends with Rapax at the European Grand Prix events from May through to September.



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Luiz Razia - Team Arden   [pic credit: GP2]
Simon Pagenaud - Team Penske [credit: IndyCar Series]
Gustav Malja - Rapax [credit: GP2 Series]
2015 GP2 Series Round 11. Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Sunday 29 November 2015. The ART team celebrate winning both championships. Photo: Zak Mauger/GP3 Series Media Service.
2015 GP3 Series Round 9. Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Sunday 29 November 2015. Esteban Ocon (FRA, ART Grand Prix), third position, and his team celebrate winning the championship. Photo: Zak Mauger/GP3 Series Media Service.
2015 GP3 Series Round 9 Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, UAE. Saturday 28 November 2015. Marvin Kirchhofer (GER, ART Grand Prix), wins the race in front of his team Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP3 Series Media Service.
2015 GP2 Series Round 10. Bahrain International Circuit, Bahrain Friday 20 November 2015. ART Grand Prix celebrate winning the Team Championship with Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL, ART Grand Prix) Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.
2015 GP2 Series Round 8. Autodromo di Monza, Italy. Sunday 6 September 2015. Artem Markelov (RUS, RUSSIAN TIME) leads Robert Visoiu (ROM, Rapax) Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.
2015 GP2 Series Round 8. Autodromo Nazionale di Monza, Monza, Italy. Sunday 6 September 2015. Mitch Evans (NZL, RUSSIAN TIME) celebrates with his team in parc ferme. Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.
2015 GP3 Series Round 6. Autodromo Nazionale di Monza, Monza, Italy. Sunday 6 September 2015. Marvin Kirchhofer (GER, ART Grand Prix) takes the win as he drives past his team. Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP3 Series Media Service.
2015 GP2 Series Round 8. Autodromo Nazionale di Monza, Monza, Italy. Saturday 5 September 2015. Alex Lynn (GBR, DAMS) and Sergey Sirotkin (RUS, Rapax) crash. Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service.
2015 GP2 Series Round 7. Spa-Francorchamps, Spa, Belgium. Saturday 22 August 2015. Sergey Sirotkin (RUS, Rapax) leads Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL, ART Grand Prix) Oliver Rowland (GBR, MP Motorsport) and the rest of the field at the start. Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Media Service
2015 GP3 Series Round 4. Hungaroring, Budapest, Hungary. Saturday 25 July 2015. Luca Ghiotto (ITA, Trident) celebrates his win in parc ferme with his team. Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP3 Media Service
2015 GP2 Series Round 6. Hungaroring, Budapest, Hungary. Saturday 25 July 2015. Alex Lynn (GBR, DAMS), Pierre Gasly (FRA, DAMS), and Sergey Sirotkin (RUS, Rapax) celebrate on the podium. Photo: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Media Service
Robert Visoiu (ROM) Rapax
Robert Visoiu (ROM) Rapax
Robert Visoiu (ROM) Rapax
Robert Visoiu (ROM) Rapax

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