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GP2 champion Valsecchi feels he deserves F1 chance

ESPN Staff
September 24, 2012 « Glock nearly had to retire in Singapore | 'Mercedes offer him much greater freedom on the commercial side' »
Davide Valsecchi: "I really hope to have the chance, because at the moment we are strong enough to use it" © Sutton Images
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Newly-crowned GP2 champion Davide Valsecchi believes he is ready to step up to Formula One and represent Italy on the grid next season.

There are currently no Italian drivers in Formula One after Jarno Trulli and Vitantonio Liuzzi were replaced at Caterham and HRT over the winter. With the exception of Giorgio Pantano in 2008, who had previously raced in F1, every GP2 champion since Nico Rosberg in 2005 has secured a drive in F1 the following year and Valsecchi is hoping he will get the opportunity to do the same.

"I really hope to have the chance, because at the moment we are strong enough to use it, so I really hope I will have a chance, and that I can show that I deserve to be there, that I'm ready and I'm strong enough to be there," he said. "I would sign right now: next week, if you were going to Japan, I would come with you!

"In Italy they always say there is no Italian driver in Formula One, but before now who deserved it?" he added. "Last year we finished second with [Luca] Filippi, which was fantastic but we were unlucky because it was second. The year before no Italian, and before there was Pantano, who was a great champion, but there was the story that he was in Formula One before, and the story that maybe he was too old, but this year there is another Italian champion."

It took Valsecchi five seasons to secure the GP2 title, but he believes the conditions were not right for him to have a stab at the championship in his first four years.

"We need to say that in GP2 there are the best drivers in the world outside of Formula One, and the level is so high that if everything is not perfect, you cannot win: there are teams like Lotus, DAMS, iSport, Racing Engineering, Addax, Arden, every one has won in the past. And there are such good drivers that it is really hard to be the champion here.

"So it is great news for me, great news for DAMS, and this year we were able to show that we are the best: we were the best at the beginning of the season, we were not so lucky in the middle of the season and I saw the stewards a bit too much [laughs], but when it was important in the end we came back, driving really well, having a good car, and showing that we can come back strong enough to take back the championship."