Artem Markelov will return to the FIA Formula 2 Championship for the final two rounds of the 2019 season with BWT Arden, taking over the seat previously occupied by the late Anthoine Hubert.
During the Formula 2 feature race at Spa-Francorchamps, Hubert was involved in a high-speed accident with Giuliano Alesi and Juan Manuel Correa. Hubert at age 22, passed away as a result from the injuries he sustained in the accident.
Correa has remained in treatment in London since the accident, but the latest news has indicated that the American driver has been taken out of an induced coma, but are in a race against time to treat injuries he sustained on his legs. Correa is conscious, but not fully awake.
Since the accident, Arden ran a sole car for Monza, which took place a week after the events that occurred at Spa-Francorchamps. Hubert’s team-mate Tatiana Calderón represented the team for the Italian round, whilst Sauber Junior Team and Trident, who were also involved in the incident at Spa-Francorchamps, ran a sole car as well.
F2 will race for the penultimate round of the series at the Sochi Autodrom in Russia this weekend, with a full-field of 20 cars expected to return. Sauber will run with Russian and SMP Racing driver Matevos Isaakyan for the remainder of the year as Correa’s stand-in, whilst Ralph Boschung has confirmed he will race with Trident in Sochi.
Arden will plan to run two-cars once again with the hiring of F2 veteran Artem Markelov, who will join the team for the last rounds of the season.
Markelov made his debut in the series in 2014 with Russian Time, now known as UNI-Virtuosi Racing. The Russian since his debut has developed himself as a fan-favourite and a race winner, holding the record for most wins in F2 with eight. He ended the 2017 season second overall, only losing out to now Scuderia Ferrari Formula 1 driver Charles Leclerc.
In the announcement, Markelov said he thanks Arden for trusting him to race with the team after a challenging period, sending his best wishes to the Hubert family.
“First of all, I want to give my best to the family of Anthoine. This guy was not only a good driver, he was a great man who was happy all the time and always gave us a smile. He showed everyone his talent,” said Markelov.
“Thanks to the team for trusting me in this situation and I’m going to do my best for them. We are going to drive together in memory of Anthoine.
“I’m really happy I’ll be driving for BWT Arden for the rest of the championship. It’s a really nice opportunity to drive at my home Grand Prix again. I hope for a strong result and I’ll work hard to achieve it.”
Markelov spent five years within the F2/GP2 Series before he announced his departure at the end of the 2018 season, joining the Japanese Super Formula series for 2019. However, the twenty-five year old Russian made a surprise comeback this year in Monaco with MP Motorsport, acting as a stand-in for Jordan King, who was competing in the Indianapolis 500.
The Russian ended the Monaco weekend with a sixth and fourth place, narrowingly missing out on the podium in the sprint race. After the round, Markelov admitted that he would welcome more opportunities to race in F2 again, and will do so, racing at his home race and at the last round at the Yas Marina Circuit with the Banbury-based team. Markelov will race with the numbers 22, as the 19 once raced by Hubert will retire for the remainder of the year.
Arden Team Manager, Kenny Kirwan feels proud to have the services of Markelov onboard for the remainder of 2019 and will continue on where Hubert left off, who the team and the whole F2 community still dearly miss.
“Following on from recent tragic events and our return to Sochi as a two-car team we are proud and humbled to have Artem join us for the remaining races of this season,” said Kirwan
“Artem is a proven race winner in this category and we very much relish the opportunity to work together and to continue where we left off with Anthoine, who we miss very dearly”