8 January 2015
GP2: Reigning champs DAMS risk rookie line-up for 2015
After clinching the driver and team titles in 2014, DAMS is staking their hopes for this year on an all-rookie line-up.
DAMS have announced that they will be relying on an all-rookie line-up of Alex Lynn and Pierre Gasly to achieve repeat success in the GP2 Series driver and team championships in 2015.
"After the brilliant season we had in 2014 it'll be difficult to do better," admitted team CEO Jean-Paul Driot. "Obviously our aim is to keep our titles."
And aiming to do just that, Driot has gone all-in on a strategy of two rookies rather than going the traditional route of pairing an experienced GP2 driver with the best of the new talent graduating to the feeder series this year.
Not that Alex Lynn is any old rookie, having blitzed his way to the GP3 title last year and now clearly setting his sights on similar success in GP2 as he slips into the same race seat that propelled Jolyon Palmer to championship success last year.
And Pierre Gasly is no less exciting as a prospect. The 18-year-old Frenchman from Rouen made his GP2 début in the last three rounds of 2014 with Caterham Racing, but then really caught the eye when he swept the post-season test sessions at Abu Dhabi after switching to DAMS.
Moreover, both drivers are leading products of the Red Bull Juniors programme which is designed to find and promote next generation motor racing talent.
"I'm delighted to welcome Pierre Gasly and Alex Lynn to the team," said Driot. "It's the youngest driver line-up we've ever had in GP2, but we've got two exceptionally talented guys who have a great future ahead of them.
"Although the overall level in the championship will again be very high, I'm confident that with these drivers DAMS will prove worthy of its rank," Driot added.
"I am delighted to be racing with DAMS in 2015," said 21-year-old Lynn. "Their record in the last few years speaks for itself and there's nowhere else I wanted to be in GP2. It's a fantastic opportunity for me and I'd like to thank them for giving me this break.
"My aim is to fight for the Championship," Lynn was upfront in admitting. "It's a long time since anybody won GP2 in their first year, but if we can get off to a solid start there's no reason why we shouldn't be able to fight for wins and podiums straight away.
"I also know Pierre very well, we're good friends and it's not often that team-mates see eye to eye so I'm looking forward to having a good year with him," Lynns added. "It will also make things a lot smoother and more productive for the team with us working together in a positive way."
As for Gasly, who won the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 title in 2013 and went on to finish as runner up in last year's Formula Renault 3.5 Series with Arden Motorsport before his late-season switch to GP2, being confirmed as a DAMS driver for 2015 is a dream come true.
"I'm very happy to be joining DAMS which, for me, is a benchmark," he said. "It's the team I wanted to work with. The first tests we did together in Abu Dhabi really boosted my confidence. I felt at home in the team and I hit it off with all the guys straight away so I was on the pace from day one.
"GP2 is a very competitive championship and I know I'm going to have to do a lot of hard work," he conceded. "Obviously my aim is the drivers' title. I'm in the best team and I'll have the resources to achieve this objective. I'll also have a very solid team-mate in Alex who I know well. We get on like a house on fire and that'll be a plus for the team. I can't wait for the season to begin!"
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