Pantano Still Waits for F1 Call

Despite winning his first GP2 championship in career, Italian Giorgio Pantano doesn't seem to be very optimistic about his chances to return to Formula 1 any time soon. The 29-year old driver previously raced for Jordan in 2004, but wasn't able to secure a race seat from 2005 onward. This year, Pantano managed to win the GP2 crown in front of title favorite Bruno Senna but is considering a move to North America for continuing his racing career.

“I knew this was my last chance to go back to Formula One. I am still waiting for some answers, but I will not wait forever, because I have to ensure my career as a professional driver has a precise direction,” said Pantano when asked by French newspaper L'Equipe about his prospects to return to F1 in 2009.

With most of the F1 seats for 2009 already secured, Pantano has little chances of joining an F1 team in the near future. His age is certainly no bonus, as most teams are looking for fresh blood to replace 'old guns' and F1 veterans. Toro Rosso and Honda seem the only two teams to have an opening for 2009, but Bruno Senna and Sebastien Bourdais are already in pole position for being appointed for the upcoming season.

If not picked up for a Formula 1 racing seat in 2009, Pantano will become the first GP2 champion ever to continue his career elsewhere than F1 after clinching the series' title. At the moment, the Italian's best shot of continuing his racing career lies in the North American IndyCar Series, where he could make his return after some one-offs in 2005.

“I have always had the highest regard for these championships. I am convinced it is a competition that will return to its level of the days with Mansell and Zanardi,” said Pantano. If signing a deal in the North America's main open-wheel competition, Pantano will most likely be joined by current Honda driver and F1 veteran Rubens Barrichello – due to test a Honda-powered Penske car in the IndyCar this winter.
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