Trident Racing has revealed that its drivers for the first round of the 2013 GP2 Series will be Nathanaël Berthon and Kevin Ceccon.
"I would like to thank Trident and all the people who made this possible," said Berthon. "I am more than happy to be with Trident. This team is like a family, and they work really closely with the driver."
Berthon had worked with Trident in the first pre-season test session of the year at Jerez and had been seen as a leading contender for one of the two Trident seats. Ceccon is somewhat more of a surprise, however, not having run in a GP2 car since the end of 2011.
"When I realised that I was leaving for Sepang, it was a fantastic feeling," said the young Italian. "The opportunity to get back behind the wheel of a GP2 car may be unexpected, but I am so excited for this!"
Sauber F1 reserve driver Robin Frijns had been thought to be a leading contender to join the side, while Marussia F1's newly appointed test driver Rodolfo Gonzalez had also won praise for the team after battling through illness to turn out for the team in the last day of track activity in Spain, before the teams decamped to Malaysia for this weekend's season opener.
Both drivers miss out, at least for now. Notably, it appears that Trident have only confirmed Berthon and Ceccon for this initial round at Sepang International Circuit and not for the whole season. Overall, it appears from the outside that it's not the optimal circumstances surrounding their driver announcement that the team had been hoping for.
Berthon had been unable to return to the squad for the second pre-season test in Barcelona because of what the team called "a contractual glitch related to his previous career experiences," while Ceccon has been out of GP2 for almost a year and a half while he raced instead in the GP3 Series.
"I know I am not in the 'perfect' conditions since I could not complete all the pre-season tests, but, I kept on working hard in case this would happen," admitted Berthon, who completed a maiden season in GP2 in 2012 with Racing Engineering.
"I feel more than ready and I am confident for this season because I have one year experience in GP2 under my belt," he said. "But also because I feel Trident is supporting me fully and they show me that they want to work and progress with me.