Lotus sign GP2 ace Valsecchi as 3rd driver

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Italian Davide Valsecchi has been signed by Lotus F1 Team as 3rd driver, the Enstone based squad announced at the launch of its 2013 car. Valsecchi was previously with HRT and Caterham F1 but only really got to test an F1 car with Lotus at the young driver test after winning the GP2 championship in 2012.

Davide Valsecchi entered the world of motor racing when he was just four years old with a go-kart received as a gift from his father Fiorenzo, and a close friend, Gigi Brusadelli, a former Formula 1 mechanic.“

The gift proved to be well-chosen, and Davide would later graduate through the karting ranks to begin single-seater racing in the 2003 Italian Formula Renault Championship, moving through to the Formula Renault Eurocup before entering the World Series by Renault, where he gaining his
first international victory.

In 2007, he debuted in the GP2 Asia Series with the Durango team. The GP2 Series beckoned the following season, but a vertebrae-fracturing crash at Istanbul somewhat interrupted the year. However, despite doctors’ expectations of a long recovery, Davide was back behind the wheel
at Silverstone, less than two months after the accident. A first win in GP2 that year fulfilled one of Davide’s life-long dreams as success came on the last race on the calendar, at Monza.

Championship glory came with iSport in the 2009-2010 GP2 Asia Series thanks to three victories, one pole position and six podium finishes in eight races overall. The GP2 Series followed in 2010 with a further victory at the season ending Abu Dhabi event.

Through his performances, Davide’s name had come to the attention of Formula 1 teams and a young driver test with HRT was followed by a joint
role in 2011; GP2 for another season with a brand new outfit, Caterham Racing, plus a test driver position for the Caterham Formula 1 Team. A GP2 win in Monaco was the highlight of his season.

For 2012 he moved to the DAMS GP2 team where he had an incredibly successful year, scoring ten podiums, winning four races, and providing six of the fastest laps of the season. He earned himself the GP2 Series title, and was invited by Lotus F1 Team to test in Abu Dhabi in November. A successful trial for the squad who finished fourth in the Constructors’ Championship brings us right up to date with Davide’s appointment to the
position of third driver for Lotus F1 Team at the start of 2013.

"What is important for me is to show that I’m the driver to bet on, and that you can count on me," says Davide. "I want to be consistent, so that every time I’m involved with something I am professional, every time I drive I’m extremely fast, and every time I race, I want to fight for something important without making any mistakes. I’m really happy that the team want me on board and I’m excited about the future. I hope that this is a really good start to a career in Formula 1."

"Every day I will do the very best job that I can to give Lotus F1 Team the same passion and commitment that I showed last year. My last season in GP2 in 2012 was something I really focussed on, and in the end I succeeded. Now in Formula 1 my target will be a little different, but my focus to do the very best is still the same."

"I took part in the young driver test in Abu Dhabi at the end of last year and that was unbelievable. I’ve spent some time in GP2 but the step up to Formula 1 is very different. Before the test I had not really spent much time in a Formula 1 car, and to get the opportunity to have a full day’s testing was an incredible experience. I was thankful to Lotus F1 Team for giving me the chance, and I knew that I was in a position to do well as I was about to drive a car that, just two or three days earlier, had won the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix! The day itself went very well, and I managed to top the timing board which made me very happy."