Mercedes-Benz protégé and 2017 GP3 Series champion George Russell will make his expected move up into the FIA Formula 2 Championship in 2018 after joining ART Grand Prix.
The Briton will join the already confirmed Jack Aitken aiming to emulate Charles Leclerc, who stepped up into Formula 2 in 2017 as the reigning GP3 Series champion and took the title, with the Monegasque driver then following that up by moving this year into Formula 1 with the Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team.
Russell feels ready for the move up, but acknowledges that it will be a challenge, particularly as Formula 2 is introducing a new car in 2018, although he has confidence that his continuing partnership with ART Grand Prix will ensure they are towards the front of the field.
“I am very happy to be able to race in Formula 2 while continuing to drive for ART Grand Prix,” said Russell. “We had a very successful year together last season and so it makes sense to continue working together and seek out new successes.
“With the introduction of a new Formula 2 car, it will be challenging for all the teams to optimise the set-up from the start of the season, but I have every confidence in ART Grand Prix to get there and to be competitive as quickly as possible.
“I cannot wait to take part in the first race and fight against some of the best drivers and teams at the pinnacle of junior motorsport.”
Team principal Sebastien Philippe says it was a logical move to retain Russell’s services for a second year after such a strong 2017 in GP3, and he believes that with the Briton on board they can challenge for the championship this season.
“ART Grand Prix had a very enjoyable and fruitful year with George in GP3, both sporting and personal, so it was only natural that we renewed our partnership for Formula 2, hand in hand with Mercedes-Benz, where George is one of their young drivers,” said Philippe.
“ART Grand Prix’s experience together with George’s talent should allow us to fight and defend our title in the entry series to Formula 1.”