Renault F1 junior Aitken tipped for ART Grand Prix GP3 switch

Renault Formula 1 protege Jack Aitken has been tipped to join new Mercedes F1 junior George Russell at top team ART Grand Prix in this year's GP3 Series

Renault F1 junior Aitken tipped for ART Grand Prix GP3 switch

The 21-year-old finished fifth in the points in a race-winning rookie GP3 season with Arden International last year, after winning the 2015 Formula Renault Eurocup and ALPS titles to springboard himself onto the revived Renault junior scheme.

Also expected in the ART GP3 line-up for 2017 are Honda-backed Nirei Fukuzumi, who claimed seventh in the points with the team last year in his first season in Europe, and Russell's fellow Formula 3 European Championship race winner Anthoine Hubert.

Aitken spent two days with ART in GP3's post-season Abu Dhabi test, before moving on to DAMS for the final day.

While he could not confirm or deny any deal, Aitken told Autosport: "I had a strong first year with Arden and made a great deal of progress stepping up from Renault 2.0, and I have to thank them for that.

"Coming back this year means that winning the title has to be our goal.

"ART has also produced many great drivers over the years, making it the perfect place to continue my bid for F1 by learning as much as possible."

OTHER SEATS FILL UP

Other recent developments in the GP3 driver market include the placing of two more proteges of F1 teams.

Red Bull junior Niko Kari, above, makes the switch from a race-winning campaign in European F3, the Finn joining Arden.

Aitken's fellow Renault prospect Kevin Jorg, meanwhile, has lined up a second season in GP3, switching from DAMS to Trident.

Formula Renault Eurocup racer Julien Falchero, who is supported by former F1 veteran Jean-Pierre Jarier, makes the step up to GP3 with Campos Racing.

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