Crash.Net GP2 News
Lotus snaps up Abt to pair with Calado
19 December 2012
Lotus GP has declared its intentions for the 2013 GP2 Series, revealing a formidable driver line-up after announcing that this year's GP3 Series runner-up Daniel Abt will join James Calado at the team.
Abt missed out on the 2012 GP3 title by just two points to Mitch Evans at the season finale at Monza, despite finishing off his year with his second feature race win of the year and his fourth second place of the season on the Sunday.
"I cannot tell you how happy I am to have the opportunity to race in GP2 with the best team I can imagine," said Abt after the announcement. "Of course it is always a big challenge for the drivers and the team but I am sure we have the perfect package to achieve great results."
The 20-year-old German competed in the Formula 3 Euro Series in 2011 before joining Lotus GP's GP3 team for 2012.
"Already in GP3 we had a really good relationship and worked together well," said Abt of his ongoing relationship with Lotus GP. "We finished second in the championship it felt like the right choice for me to go one step higher in my career."
"Daniel is the GP3 driver who has improved the most over the course of the last season," offered Lotus GP team principal Frédéric Vasseur. "He finished either first or second in the last seven races, showing he has what it takes to fight for the title until the final race and that he fully deserved to win.
"His mind, his raw talent and his ability to adapt and grow convinced Lotus GP to help him take the step up into the GP2 Series," Vasseur added. "He will have a professional environment that he already knows and which has the culture of winning."
After narrowly missing out on the GP3 title the end of the GP3 season, Abt also took part in three weekends of the Formula Renault 3.5 Series and then spent three days of GP2 post-season testing with Lotus, split between Barcelona in October and at Jerez in November.
The team also tried out Rio Haryanto, Jolyon Palmer, Stéphane Richelmi and Sergio Canamasas during the four days of testing, with Haryanto subsequently signing with Barwa Addax, Palmer joining Carlin and Richelmi securing a seat with DAMS.
Lotus GP came second in the teams championship in the 2012 GP2 Series, narrowly missing out on the title to DAMS. Under their former name ART Grand Prix, they previously won the team title in 2005 with Alexandre Prémat and Nico Rosberg, in 2006 with Prémat and Lewis Hamilton, and in 2009 with Pastor Maldonado and Nico Hülkenberg.
Like many of his illustrious predecessor, Lotus GP's lead driver in 2012 - Mexico's Esteban Gutiérrez - has also now been tapped by F1 to join the Grand Prix paddock in 2013 with a full-time seat at Sauber F1.