Austria's Rene Binder will remain at Venezuela GP Lazarus for the 2013 GP2 Series season, after signing a full-year deal to drive for the Italian squad this year.
Binder made his début in the series with the team at the end of last season, competing in the last three weekends of the year at Spa, Monza and Singapore after replacing Giancarlo Serenelli in the squad's #19 car.
“I am sure we have made the right decision to sign for Venezuela GP Lazarus," said Binder, who had previously been competing in the ATS Formel 3 Cup in 2012. "This will be my first full season and I cannot wait for the pre-season tests to get underway."
As well as his three race weekends in 2012, Binder also spent three of the four post-season test days working with the team in Spain during October and November.
"In Barcelona and Jerez, it was clear to me that Rene has the talent and the intelligence to drive a car as demanding as that of GP2," said team principal Tancredi Pagiaro. "I've always appreciated Rene Binder driving style: starting from his début in Spa he drove the car without taking unnecessary risks, always listening to all our suggestions and improving day by day.
"Rene has the ability and the determination to learn very quickly and that's why I think he can obtain very good results during the season," Pagiaro added. "It will only be difficult for him to learn circuits such us Kuala Lumpur, Bahrain, Monte Carlo or Abu Dhabi in just seven or eight laps during free practice, but we will be working together and we will do our best.”
Venezuela GP Lazarus was a late addition to the 2012 GP2 Series, replacing the departing Super Nova Racing team just weeks before the start of the new season. Originally fielding Fabrizio Crestani alongside Serenelli for the first two-thirds of the year, the latter stages of the season saw the team switch to Sergio Canamasas alongside Binder as their preferred driver line-up.
Even so, Venezuela GP Lazarus finished in last place in the team championship with the exception of Scuderia Coloni, which had forfeited all its points in return for an early exit from the series at the end of 2012. It's clear that both Binder and his team are looking at being significantly more competitive in the championship this season and aiming for a much better standing in this year's standings.
"The GP2 Series will be very competitive this year with some strong drivers arriving from other junior categories," said Binder. "But I want to fully concentrate on my own preparations and get the maximum from the car and, of course, from the tyres."
Binder's new team mate for 2013 will be announced before the first pre-season tests, scheduled for February 26-28 at Jerez. Kevin Giovesi and Kevin Mirocha were the other two drivers to get time in the car during the last track test days at the end of 2012.