FIA Formula 2 veteran Artem Markelov has agreed to race in the 2020 FIA Formula 2 Championship with new entry HWA Racelab, signing on for his seventh season in the series.
The Russain driver first raced in the series in 2014, making his debut with the then Russian Time team in the series once known as the GP2 Series. Progressively over time, Markelov matured into a race winner and championship contender in 2017, when the series was renamed into its current name Formula 2.
Markelov finished second overall in the 2017 championship, only losing out to now Formula 1 Scuderia Ferrari driver, Charles Leclerc. In 2018, Markelov declared that he would leave the series to compete in the Japanese Super Formula series in 2019.
But Markelov made a surprise comeback for the Monaco round with MP Motorsport, in place for Jordan King who was competing in the Indy500. In the final two rounds of 2019, Markelov agreed to return to the series and race with BWT Arden for the late Anthoine Hubert. He is team-mates with Tatiana Calderón.
With Arden becoming HWA Racelab in 2020, expanding on their collaboration deal the two agreed prior to the season, Markelov will stay onboard with the team, acting as the experienced driver as the German outfit makes its debut season.
“I am really looking forward to racing for HWA RACELAB in Formula 2 next season,” said Markelov
“I think we will gel quickly. HWA has a vast wealth of motorsport experience, from which I am sure I will benefit.”
Markelov quickly became a fan favourite within the series for his creative and outstanding racecraft. In his 2018 season during the feature race in Austria, Markelov passed three cars in one corner on the final lap of the race. He would go on that weekend to win the sprint race.
HWA Racelab have explored entering F2 since the end of 2018 when their DTM entry with Mercedes-Benz ended after the German car giant decided to leave the series. The team’s attempt at an entry for 2019 failed but managed to agree an engineering deal with Arden, that saw HWA members support the Banbury race crew and engineering department for 2019.
The team also entered the newly formed FIA Formula 3 Championship & FIA Formula E, acting as an affiliated team for Mercedes. Mercedes-Benz EQ Formula E Team have now taken over HWA’s entry, acting as one of many manufacturer teams within Formula E.
Their debut F3 season saw positives with British driver Jake Hughes bringing home one win in Austria and finishing seventh overall in the drivers’ championship. Hughes’ team-mates Bent Viscaal & Keyvan Andres both contributed towards the team’s fifth-place finish in the team’s standings.
With HWA now on board and agreed terms with Markelov, becoming their first driver in F2, HWA CEO, Ulrich Fritz believes the nine-time winner in F2/GP2 is an ideal driver for their debut season. 2020 will mark Markelov’s seventh season he has raced within F1’s support series.
“Artem is the ideal driver for us in our first season as an independent team in Formula 2. He has lots of experience at this level. His tally of eight race wins speaks for itself,” commented Fritz.
“His expertise as a driver will help make our introduction to the series easier. I am pleased that we were able to acquire his services.”
HWA has yet confirmed their second driver for the 2020 F2 season, being the first team to officially announce a driver for next year.