Another piece of the GP2 Series jigsaw has fallen into place as Racing Engineering finally confirmed Frenchman Nathanaël Berthon as team-mate to Fabio Leimer for the 2012 season.
The 22-year old has been testing with the Spanish team throughout the winter, and raced with it during both the 2011 GP2 Asia Series and season-ending Abu Dhabi event, finishing ninth in the feature race at the latter.
He rejoined Racing Engineering for the recent post-season test at Jerez, and showed increasing pace as he re-acquainted himself with the Dallara chassis. His next outing will be at the three days of testing which begin in Barcelona on Tuesday [6 March].
"I am happy to have Nat back in the team with us for the 2012 season," team president Alfonso de Orléans-Borbón commented, "He is extremely quick and has shown in Abu Dhabi his passing abilities. We now have to work with the aim of qualifying him as far forward on the grid so he can show his talent and finish the season in the top five positions."
Berthon began his racing career in karts before moving to single-seaters in 2008, when he competed in Formula Renault. The following year, his rapid rise up the racing ladder continued with graduation to the Formula Renault World Series, but his ability showed with a first win in the category at Magny-Cours. He recently contested the Formula Toyota series in New Zealand to keep his hand in over the winter, but is looking forward to being able to focus on GP2 for 2012.
"I am really delighted to be part of GP2 in 2012, especially with Racing Engineering," the Frenchman admitted, "It's a very strong team where I feel very comfortable.
"2012 is going to be one of the most important seasons for me and it will be a very intense year in order to fight at the top. I would like to thank everyone, who made this possible as without their trust and belief in me, this couldn't have happened."