The story of the 2011 championship season - once Romain Grosjean had strolled to a seemingly easy title victory - was the knife-edge fight for the runners-up position which came down to the wire in Monza.
Luca Filippi had hardly been expected to be a contender, let alone emerge as the GP2 'vice-champion', but a impressive string of podium finishes in the second half of the season saw him go from 9pts at the midway point to 54pts by the end of the season, pipping Jules Bianchi, Charles Pic and Giedo van der Garde to the second spot.
To put it another way: if he had started the season with that sort of form, he would have trounced Grosjean and have been crowded champion.
With Grosjean now tipped to go back to F1 with Renault if Robert Kubica is unable to return to Grand Prix racing after his rallying accident, Jules Bianchi testing with Ferrari and van der Garde also determined that he will not return to GP2 next year and that it's "F1 or nothing
" for him in 2012, you'd imagine that the same thing would be true for Filippi.
Truth is: it's not. Not a single F1 team contacted him after his inspiring runs at the GP2 season finale at Monza two weeks ago in full sight of the F1 paddock.
“Nobody," he told Italian motorsports website F1web.it
when asked if anyone from an F1 team had been in touch after that weekend. "It really seems that meritocracy works better in GP2. In F1, it works differently to how it appears."
Filippi looks set to be the first driver to finish a season in the top two positions in the GP2 feeder series who will not get an F1 shot as a result. Nico Rosberg, Heikki Kovalainen, Lewis Hamilton, Nelson Piquet Jr., Tim Glock, Lucas di Grassi, Giorgio Pantano, Bruno Senna, Nico Hulkenberg, Vitaly Petrov, Pastor Maldonado and Sergio Perez have all had their shot at F1 - so why shouldn't Filippi?
In a word: sponsorship. Drivers either have to be allied to a team coming in (as Grosjean is to Renault) or else be able to bring big cash into the team (as Petrov and Maldonado can). Fillipi can do neither, after his stint as Honda F1's test driver in 2007 ended when Honda withdrew from F1 altogether, leaving Filippi's Grand Prix hopes crushed.
"They had sufficient interest and funds to put me into a race cockpit further down the line," said Filippi, who admitted that their withdrawal had all but ended his chances of ever making it into F1.