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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

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Luiz Razia - Team Arden   [pic credit: GP2]
Simon Trummer (SUI, Rapax), leads Jolyon Palmer (GBR, DAMS) & Julian Leal (COL, Carlin) at the start of Race 2 at Bahrain International Circuit on Sunday 6 April 2014. (World Copyright: Sam Bloxham/LAT Photographic.)
Jolyon Palmer (GBR, DAMS), 1st, Simon Trummer (SUI, Rapax), 2nd, & Julian Leal (COL, Carlin), 3rd, take the chequered flag at the end of Race 2 at Bahrain International Circuit on Sunday 6 April 2014. (World Copyright: Sam Bloxham/LAT Photographic.)
Jolyon Palmer, Simon Trummer and Julian Leal celebrate on the podium after Race 2 at Bahrain International Circuit on Sunday 6 April 2014. (World Copyright: Sam Bloxham/LAT Photographic.)
Julian Leal (COL, Carlin), on the podium after Race 1 at Bahrain International Circuit on Saturday 5 April 2014. (World Copyright: Sam Bloxham/LAT Photographic.)
Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL, ART Grand Prix), celebrates his win with his team after Race 1 at Bahrain International Circuit on Saturday 5 April 2014. (World Copyright: Alastair Staley/LAT Photographic.)
Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL, ART Grand Prix), celebrates his win with his team and McLaren mechanics after Race 1 at Bahrain International Circuit on Saturday 5 April 2014. (World Copyright: Sam Bloxham/LAT Photographic.)
Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL, ART Grand Prix), celebrates with his team after Race 1 at Bahrain International Circuit on Saturday 5 April 2014. (World Copyright: Steven Tee/LAT Photographic.)
Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL, ART Grand Prix), 1st, Julian Leal (COL, Carlin), 2nd, & Jolyon Palmer (GBR, DAMS), 3rd after Race 1 at Bahrain International Circuit on Saturday 5 April 2014. (World Copyright: Sam Bloxham/LAT Photographic.)
Stoffel Vandoorne (BEL, ART Grand Prix), 1st, Julian Leal (COL, Carlin), 2nd, & Jolyon Palmer (GBR, DAMS), 3rd after Race 1 at Bahrain International Circuit on Saturday 5 April 2014. (World Copyright: Sam Bloxham/LAT Photographic.)
Adrian Quaife-Hobbs (GBR, Rapax), passes Jon Lancaster (GBR, MP Motorsport) on day 3 of the second GP2 Series pre-season test session, at Bahrain International Circuit on Friday 21 March, 2014. (World Copyright: Sam Bloxham/LAT Photographic.)
The helmets of Felipe Masr (BRA, Carlin), and Julian Leal (COL, Carlin). (World Copyright: Sam Bloxham/LAT Photographic.)
Simon Trummer (SUI, Rapax) on day 1 of the second GP2 Series pre-season test session, at Bahrain International Circuit on Wednesday 19 March, 2014. (World Copyright: Sam Bloxham/LAT Photographic.)
Simon Trummer (SUI, Rapax) on day 1 of the second GP2 Series pre-season test session, at Bahrain International Circuit on Wednesday 19 March, 2014. (World Copyright: Sam Bloxham/LAT Photographic.)
Russian Time team principal Igor Mazepa with lead driver Sam Bird in 2013. (Photo Credit: GP2 Media Service.)
Facu Regalia (ARG, Barwa Addax Team) during the third and final day of post-season testing at Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates on Thursday November 7, 2013. (World Copyright: Sam Bloxham/LAT Photographic.)
Facu Regalia (ARG, Barwa Addax Team) during the third and final day of post-season testing at Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates on Thursday November 7, 2013. (World Copyright: Sam Bloxham/LAT Photographic.)
James Calado (GBR , ART Grand Prix) celebrates his victory with Dani Clos (ESP, MP Motorsport) and Fabio Leimer (SUI, Racing Engineering) after the sprint race at Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates on Sunday November 3 2013. (Photo Credit: Alastair Staley/GP2 Media Service.)

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