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Honda junior Fukuzumi in line for F2 graduation with Arden for 2018

Honda junior Nirei Fukuzumi is poised to join the Arden International squad for the 2018 Formula 2 season, Autosport has learned

Fukuzumi raced in GP3 this season, finishing third in the points behind ART team-mates George Russell and Jack Aitken with feature race wins in Barcelona and Jerez.

Honda is keen to promote its 20-year-old protege and multiple sources have indicated that the Japanese car manufacturer has struck a deal to place Fukuzumi at Arden in 2018.

He will drive for the team in this week's post-season Abu Dhabi test, which will represent his first taste of F2 machinery.

Honda is also understood to be working to get another of its junior drivers, Tadasuke Makino, on the F2 grid.

Makino endured a tough rookie European F3 campaign for Hitech GP this year, placing 15th in the points and missing July's Spa round after breaking his wrist.

He will drive for Russian Time in Abu Dhabi testing but, with the team expected to drop off the grid in 2018, Honda is be understood to be exploring alternative berths for him.

Russell and Aitken are set to partner each other once again in 2018 at the ART F2 squad, and will replace Alexander Albon and Nobuharu Matsushita.

ART announced on Tuesday it would run the pair in the Abu Dhabi test later this week.

Albon has been linked to a switch to DAMS, where he would join Nicholas Latifi, while Matsushita is said to be likely to quit the series after three seasons in favour of a switch to Super Formula.

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