Since the sport’s feeder series began in 2005, every champion – Nico Rosberg, Lewis Hamilton, Timo Glock, Nico Hulkenberg, Pastor Maldonado and Romain Grosjean – has recorded his place in F1 history.
Even Giorgio Pantano, the 2008 champion who didn’t carry the crown into F1, had already tasted formula one racing, by spending most of the 2004 season with Jordan. Fellow Italian Valsecchi, 26, is the new reigning GP2 champion, but he will have to be content with the role of ‘third driver’ at Lotus this year.
Some media reports suggest, however, that Valsecchi will be given the chance to race in 2012 if regular drivers Kimi Raikkonen or Grosjean are unable. “I hope that this is a really good start to a career in formula one,” Valsecchi said in an interview published by Lotus’ official website. “I’ve been with the team at the first test in Jerez already and it’s been great to get involved and into the way that they work on track.”
Asked if he thinks his new role will lead to a full seat, he answered: “I very much hope so, and that step by step I will eventually become a full time competitive formula one driver. “I will continue to do my best whenever the team needs me for something, and whenever I have the chance I will try to show all my best qualities. “If I do the best job I can this year then it will open up my chances for the future, and we’ll see then if I’m good enough.”