Rising star James Calado’s chances of making the move up to Formula 1 have been boosted by a deal to be managed by Nicolas Todt, whose All Road Management group manages Felipe Massa, Pastor Maldonado and Jules Bianchi.
Nicolas is the son of FIA president Jean Todt and also a shareholder in ART Grand Prix, a front running team in GP2 and other categories. Calado is currently driving for ART GP in the GP2 series.
Calado, 23, competed with current Williams F1 driver Valterri Bottas for the GP3 title two seasons ago and last year won two races in his first season of GP2. He is one of the front-runners this year, although he blotted his copybook in Malaysia by causing an accident at the start, which brought him a grid penalty in Bahrain. Nevertheless he is expected to compete for the title and seasoned observers in the F1 paddock have him on their radar.
Todt said, “I am delighted to have James join ARM. Through my role at ART Grand Prix team for whom James is currently in his second year racing in GP2, I have been strongly impressed by his talent, attitude and level of commitment since his very successful GP3 campaign. I hope that James will fight for the GP2 title and prove that he deserves to enter the F1 elite. I wish to thank the RSF founder, Graham Sharp and Derek Walters for their contribution: the RSF (Racing Steps Foundation) has sustained and guided James towards his successful racing career and will continue to be a strategic partner for the further development of his career.”
Calado has thus far benefitted from backing from the not for profit Racing Steps Foundation, established by Graham Sharp and Derek Walters, which was established to help young British drivers find opportunities at the top level of motorsport.
With seats in F1 now so dependent on drivers bringing budget, these are difficult times for young drivers to break in, however much talent they have. But there are teams like Force India which give young drivers a chance to run on Fridays in practice sessions at Grands Prix and there is the Young Guns Test at Silverstone in the summer, where Calado is likely to have a chance to get some F1 seat time, brokered by Todt.
Incidentally, although Force India has started the season without a reserve driver in the car on Fridays, after Jules Bianchi’s signing by Marussia, they will soon be filling that slot. Deputy team principal Robert Fernley confirmed in Bahrain to this website that the team will soon be announcing the identity of the reserve driver.