Rapax Team - Predator which won the title in its first season
Rapax Team is the racing team from Italy which competes in the GP2 Series/Formula 2 Championship since 2010.
Piquet GP became Rapax
The history of the team can be traced back from 1997 when GP Racing was founded and also to 2000 when former Formula 1 champion Nelson Piquet formed the Piquet Sports. Two teams merged to create Minardi Piquet Sports in 2007 while two years later the team was rebranded as Piquet GP. Later that year the team was sold to the group of businessman and was renamed to Rapax, what is Latin word for a predator.
Team headquarter is located in Veggiano, near the city of Padua in Veneto region. The team manager and one of the co-owners, Andrea Bergamini, manages the team’s finances and racing issues. He previously worked as an official in the organization in charge of the FIA World Touring Cars Championship, so he has enough experience of working at the highest level of motorsport. Marco Galuppi coordinates a staff of engineers and technicians.
Rapax Team competes exclusively in the GP2 Series/Formula 2 Championship but also carries out as an intense technical development agenda with a defined budget for diverse aerodynamic and mechanical simulation programs.
Double crown was won in the team’s first year
In 2010 Rapax Team entered GP2 Series and enjoyed instant success. Pastor Maldonado became the series champion after scoring 6 wins out of 20 races. The Venezuelan driver also had other two podiums that year before taking the title. Interestingly, he failed to score points in the final five races of the season. However, at the end of the campaign he was 16 points ahead of runner-up Sergio Perez.
Rapax also won the Teams’ Championship that year. The second driver Luiz Razia recorded three podiums and picked some valuable points for the team in the tight battle for the title against the Barwa Addax team.
Huge step backward
Both drivers left the team in 2011. Triumph in the GP2 Series propelled Maldonado to Formula 1 and he became a driver of Williams. Fabio Leimer and Julian Leal were brought as the replacements but they failed to meet the expectations. However, the Swiss driver scored one victory before finishing 14th in the standings but the Colombian completely disappointed and ended the season without a single point. Rapax dropped to the 10th place in the Teams’ Championship what was a big blow for the title defenders.
The following year was somewhat better. Four drivers shared a drive that year – Ricardo Teixeira, Tom Dillmann, Daniel de Jong, and Stefano Coletti. The only victory in 2012 GP2 Series was scored by Dillmann in Bahrain and Rapax moved up to the 9th position in the final classification.
Too many ups and downs
Stefano Coletti and Simon Trummer were lined-up for the 2013 GP2 Series campaign. The team moved up to the 7th place in the standings, almost exclusively thanks to Coletti who scored three wins and had other four podiums. Interestingly, the Monegasque driver scored all of 135 points in the first half of the season. Even after poor performances in the second half, he finished 5th in the standings while Trummer was 21st overall.
Rapax Team retained Trummer’s services in 2014 and brought in Adrian Quaife-Hobbs to be the second driver. Both drivers had a pretty poor campaign. Both drivers had just one podium finish on their accounts before finishing 13th and 17th in the standings respectively while the team dropped to the 9th position in the Championship.
Signs of improvement
The season of 2015 was somewhat better after Rapax progressed to the 6th position, mainly thanks to Sergey Sirotkin. The Russian driver won the race at Silverstone and had other four podiums before finishing 3rd in the Drivers’ Championship, behind Stoffel Vandoorne and Alexander Rossi. Robert Visoiu was the Rapax’s second driver that year but he failed to impress and finished 17th overall. In the final three races of the season he was replaced by Gustav Malja who stayed with the team in the following year.
The Swedish driver raced in all of 22 races during 2016 while Arthur Pic and Johnny Cecotto Jr shared the seat of the team’s second car. However, the team ended the season without race wins and again dropped in the standings, to the 9th position. Malja was the best of three Rapax drivers as he took the 13th position.
For the 2017 campaign of the FIA Formula 2 Championship, Rapax kept Johnny Cecotto Jr but the Venezuelan will share the seat of #19 car with Sergio Canamasas. Nyck de Vries is driving the #18 and the Dutch driver already scored one victory after he was the fastest in the Sprint Race in Monaco.