Crash.Net GP2 News
MP Motorsport takes over Coloni's spot for 2013
26 November 2012
GP2 will stay at a full compliment of 13 teams, 26 drivers on the grid when racing resumes in March in Malaysia, after series organisers confirmed that Dutch team MP Motorsport have signed up to compete in next year's championship battle.
"We are pleased to welcome MP Motorsport to GP2," said series CEO Bruno Michel. "I am convinced that they will adapt quickly to the series and to the car.
"It's always a big challenge for a new team to join our high levelled field, but the winter break will give them the time they need to get ready and be competitive straight from the first pre-season test session next year," he added.
MP Motorsport was launched in 1999, originally competing in European and Benelux Formula Ford before moving to Formula Renault 2.0 in 2003. Among the drivers to have competed under the MP Motorsport name are Ricardo van de Ende, Bas Lammers, Nigel Melker and Daniël de Jong.
De Jong - who competed in eight races in the 2012 GP2 season with Rapax - had been confirmed as MP Motorport's first driver signing for their new endeavour in GP2 next season.
MP Motorsport team principal Sander Dorsman said that he was "very happy to have Daniël onboard for our first season in GP2, we know him well."
The 20-year-old from Rotterdam made his series début in Valencia, and also competed at Silverstone, the Hungaroring and Spa-Francorchamps. De Jong spent all four of the post-season test sessions available to GP2 teams at Barcelona in October and Jerez last week working with the outgoing Scuderia Coloni team.
Coloni opted to leave the GP2 Series at the end of the 2012 season after unspecified disagreements with the series organisers, leaving a vacancy on the grid that MP Motorsport will now fill.
"[Daniël] showed good speed and consistency during the post-season tests in Barcelona and Jerez," said Dorsman. "We aim to sign another experienced GP2 driver to maximise the performance of the team going forward.
"We're really excited to be a part of the GP2 Series," he added. "It's a major step for our team and a great moment for everyone at MP Motorsport. There will be a lot of work to do over the winter in order to be ready for our first outing, but we're really looking forward to the challenge.
MP Motorsport has three months to get up to speed, before their first chance to join the other 12 teams for the first pre-season test scheduled for February 26-28 at Jerez in Spain.
There will be a second three-day test opportunity the following week at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona on March 5-7. The season itself will get underway at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia on March 16-17.