Raffaele Marciello has joined Russian Time for his third season of GP2 Series racing, but is set to lose the backing of the Ferrari Driver Academy.
Marciello, who has raced for Racing Engineering and Trident Racing in the past two seasons after arriving in the championship as the 2013 FIA European Formula 3 Champion, replaces Mitch Evans in the Russian Time squad alongside Artem Markelov, who remains with the team for a third season.
The twenty-one-year-old took a maiden GP2 Series victory at Spa-Francorchamps in 2014 after a great battle with Stoffel Vandoorne, but could not add to his tally in 2015 after making the surprise switch from Racing Engineering to Trident.
“I’m delighted to join Russian Time, which impressively won the [teams’] championship in its inaugural season,” said Marciello. “I’m hoping that we can combine our experience to mount a consistent challenge for the top positions.”
The announcement was done without the usual Ferrari Driver Academy presence, with longstanding rumours saying Marciello has lost the backing of the Scuderia team, while the Italian will also no longer be the Sauber F1 Team test driver in 2016.
Markelov will be looking to build on his maiden podium finish achieved in the Feature race at Spa last season, and was looking strong for a positive result in the final Feature race of the season in Abu Dhabi before a mechanical failure saw him retire.
“I’m delighted to welcome Raffaele to the team,” said Russian Time team principal Svetlana Strelnikova. “He has shown consistent speed and Artem has grown stronger as he got to grips with the category.
“I’m optimistic that with both drivers having two years’ experience in F1’s feeder formula, we will be able to mount a challenge in what is an ever more competitive series.”