23-year-old Romanian gunning for prize Williams F1 test
Romanian driver Mihai Marinescu has confirmed he will return to the FIA Formula Two Championship in 2012 and already has his eyes on the prize Williams F1 test.
Marinescu enjoyed an impressive second season in F2 last year, finishing fifth overall after claiming his maiden win at Monza, together with a further three podiums. He capped off his 2011 season by competing in the non-championship GP2 round in Abu Dhabi.
The 23-year-old, who will continue to be backed by the Romanian Tourism Department, joined Formula Two in 2010 on the back of a competitive year in Formula Renault 3.5. He scored nine points finishes over the course of the 2010 season to finish a respectable 11th overall, with his best result coming at Portimão where he narrowly missed out on his first F2 podium after storming from tenth to fourth.
Marinescu's previous racing experience stretches back more than a decade to karting, when he won four consecutive national titles and enjoyed strong success internationally. He made his single seater debut in 2005, when he competed in a variety of Formula Renault categories alongside a full campaign in Formula Junior 1600 Italy, in which he finished runner-up at the first attempt - ahead of former Toro Rosso F1 driver Jaime Alguersuari. Mihai switched to Formula BMW Europe in 2008, finishing 11th overall, and won the Formula BMW Pacific race that supported the annual Formula Three Macau Grand Prix before moving into Formula Renault 3.5 for 2009 with Interwetten.
Marinescu said: "I'm happy to be back in F2 for the 2012 season. I enjoyed racing in the series, so it was a natural choice to continue here, in a friendly and familiar environment. Of course I aim to win the championship and to take the big prize - the test with the Williams F1 car - but I learned that the championship is long, you need consistency and to work very hard, every day, to achieve this dream.
"The drivers of the 2012 season are very good ones, the competition will be hard, but spectacular for the viewers. I will do my work, I will try to be on the podium on almost every race and I will fight for race wins. If I will do my job perfectly, the big prize will come."
Formula Two Series Director Jonathan Palmer added: "It's really great to have Mihai back for 2012. He showed title winning potential last year with a superb maiden pole and lights-to-flag victory in Monza. Mihai was equally impressive during F2's winter test programme in Barcelona ending second and third quickest, and I'm sure he will be a very strong contender for the championship title."
The 2012 FIA Formula Two Championship will commence at Silverstone on 13-15 April.