Trident Racing is one of three GP2 teams not to have any confirmed drivers signed up for the forthcoming season which starts in just two weeks time. That doesn't leave them with much time to sign up the preferred selection, but the team says that an announcement will be made very soon.
The leading contender for one of the race seats is Sauber F1 test and reserve driver Robin Frijns, who spent all three days with the team in the first three-day pre-season test at Jerez and another two days with them at Barcelona this week.
"Frijns confirmed the great impression he had left in the previous test at Jerez," said the team in a press release on Thursday after the final test session had concluded. "The Dutchman kept his name in the top-ten easily and ended up Day 1 in third place overall. A stunning result considering that he was driving a GP2 Series car just for the second time in his career."
Sauber are thought to be keen on ensuring that the 21-year-old Dutch driver, who won the Formula Renault 3.5 Series championship last year, keeps up his race competitiveness while acting as their third driver in F1. Finding him a seat in the GP2 feeder series would seem like an ideal fit and confirmation that he would be joining Trident for a full season seemed at one point like a foregone conclusion.
However, a late wrinkle emerged on the final day of testing at the Circuit de Catalunya this week when Frijns turned out for new team Russian Time instead. Trident explained on Twitter that "He had the possibility to try another car! It is important for him and his experience, but we still are in contact."
The team had already been scheduled to replace Frijns on Thursday with French driver Nathanaël Berthon, who had worked alongside Frijns for all three days a Jerez. The team had praised the "excellent feedback" from both drivers during those three days, and seemed happy with the prospect of pairing the two as their 2013 driver line-up.
However, Berthon was not able to participate in the Barcelona test after all, with the team subsequently explaining: "Berthon was prevented from hitting the track due to a contractual glitch related to his previous career experiences."
That left Trident a driver down at short notice for the final day at Barcelona, and the situation was made worse when Rodolfo Gonzalez called in sick with 'flu symptoms first thing on Thursday. Although he was eventually able to join the other drivers out on track later in the morning, he was clearly under the weather and struggling and finally called it a day midway through the afternoon, visibly drained and exhausted.
"Gonzalez lined-up for the last day despite being in tough health conditions, but he managed to complete all the scheduled work in an extremely professional fashion," said the team, who had been lauding the 26-year-old Venezuelan's grit in working on despite ill health.