MP Motorsport could be calling Artem Markelov to return to FIA Formula 2 for the next round at the Red Bull Ring as a replacement for the race banned Mahaveer Raghunathan.
Raghunathan was handed a race ban during the fifth round of F2 after breaching Virtual Safety Car procedure three times in the Feature race. The Indian-Dutch driver received a 15 second time penalty added to his race time, but also three penalty points for each infringement, racking up a total of nine points collected in one race.
The MP driver surpassed the 12 penalty points on his superlicence and will be suspended for the next round in Austria for the series. Raghunathan however, was granted to race in the Sprint race despite being handed the ban from the race stewards before the second race.
The Dutch team will have to seek a replacement driver for Raghunathan for the next round, which takes place next weekend, giving the team short amount of time.
The team have appointed a replacement driver before this season at Monaco for Raghunathan’s team-mate Jordan King, who was in Indianapolis to compete in the Indy500. F2 veteran Artem Markelov drove for the team in a one-off appearance.
Markelov, who raced in F2/GP2 for five years with Russian Time and was runner-up in the 2017 F2 season, made a return in Monaco with MP and collected impressive results with sixth and fourth respectfully.
After his Monaco appearance, Markelov hasn’t ruled out in returning to the series in special one-off drives. The Russian currently competes in the Japanese Super Formula series, where he finished the last round at Sportsland Sugo sixteenth overall.
MP Motorsport’s boss Sander Doorsman was asked by Motorsport.com whether Markelov would be considered a replacement for Raghunathan’s ban, in which he replied:“Yeah, he could be.
“But to be really honest, it’s still so fresh. We really haven’t looked into it yet.
“We’ve just finished the races here and now and next week we look at it.“
Appointing Markelov would be ideal as he is free from schedule for the Super Formula series, with the next race in Japan not taking place until the 13/14th July, the same weekend F2 races at Silverstone and when Raghunathan’s ban is lifted.
Markelov also won in last year’s F2 Sprint race in Austria, where it was his last ever win in F2 to date.
Sanders says that he isn’t too worried about a deadline to appoint a driver for the next round in F2, saying it comes when it comes.
“I’m not too worried about it to be honest, it comes as it comes.”