GP3 runner-up Nikita Mazepin graduates to F2 for 2019 with ART

GP3 runner-up Nikita Mazepin will step up to Formula 2 next year with the ART Grand Prix team

The 19-year-old Russian, who has served as development driver for the Racing Point Force India Formula 1 team, won four races in his debut GP3 campaign and finished 16 points behind his champion ART team-mate Anthoine Hubert.

"Continuing our partnership with Nikita into Formula 2 is the logical continuation of a successful 2018 season, where he was consistently in the fight for victory and for the GP3 title, something he only just missed out on in the final race weekend of the season," said ART boss Sebastien Philippe.

"Nikita was a rookie in GP3, but his performances were remarkable from day one with a stunning victory in Barcelona [the season-opener]. Nikita has several strengths: he is fast and he constantly strives to progress in everything he does.

"I'm sure he can be a centrepiece in our Formula 2 team, just as he was in GP3."

Mazepin was runner-up to 2019 McLaren F1 driver Lando Norris in the world karting championship in 2014, but has had a mixed record since moving up to single-seaters until his breakthrough GP3 run this year.

He is the second driver formally announced for the 2019 F2 campaign, after Carlin signed the returning Nobuharu Matsushita.

"I am really happy to be continuing with ART Grand Prix for my step up to F2," he said.

"This is a natural progression given our success this year in GP3. I am very much looking forward to the challenge of my rookie season in F2."

It is understood that Dutchman Nyck de Vries, who finished fourth overall in his sophomore F2 campaign, is likely to join Mazepin at ART during this week's post-season test in Abu Dhabi.

ART took rookie George Russell to the F2 drivers' title this year, but missed out on the teams' honours to Carlin by 31 points.

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