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Luca Ghiotto joins Hitech in surprise Formula 2 return

Formula 2 race-winner Luca Ghiotto will make a surprise return to the championship with the new Hitech Grand Prix team alongside Nikita Mazepin for the 2020 season

Hitech becomes the 11th team on the Formula 2 grid after being given permission to join, officially announcing its entry after months of rumour on January 21.

Ghiotto, who made his debut in what was then called GP2 in 2016, and has six wins to his credit in the category.

The 24-year-old finished third in F2 season last year with the Virtuosi Racing team, and after making his sportscar debut with Ginetta in the Fuji World Endurance Championship round, signed a deal with the R-Motorsport Aston Martin squad to contest the full GT World Challenge Europe series.

However, Ghiotto has taken the seat at Hitech which had previously been linked to McLaren test and development driver Sergio Sette Camara.

With four clashes between F2 and his 10-round GT programme at Silverstone (Endurance), Misano (Sprint), Nurburgring (Endurance) and Hungary (Sprint), it is unclear whether he will continue with R-Motorsport.

"I'm ready for this next challenge that lies ahead in the upcoming FIA Formula 2 Championship and I'm looking forward to getting back behind the wheel in a few weeks," said Ghiotto.

"I would like to thank Hitech for giving me the opportunity to join the squad on their debut in the championship.

"I have my sights set on a strong season with the British-based squad."

Mazepin - whose father Dmitry is part of the Hitech ownership structure - raced for ART Grand Prix last year in F2 after graduating from a second place finish in the GP3 Series with the same team.

Despite mid-season improvements, Mazepin (below) finished 18th in the standings with a best finish of eighth, while his team-mate Nyck de Vries won the F2 title.

"I am really happy to race with Hitech as they embark on their first season in the FIA F2 Championship - it feels great to compete in Formula 2 for another season," said the 20-year-old Mazepin, who has tested Force India and Mercedes F1 machinery.

"I am very much looking forward to the challenge and it will undoubtedly be exciting, given the new car updates and 18-inch wheels this year."

Hitech GP's team principal Oliver Oakes said he wanted experience for the team's first foray into F2, running alongside its FIA Formula 3 programme and operating the cars in the W Series.

Mazepin knows the team well having contested two European F3 campaigns with Hitech, while 2015 GP3 runner-up Ghiotto has raced in both years of the current F2 car.

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"As we embark on our first season in Formula 2 we were keen to secure the services of two drivers with experience," said Oakes.

"In both Luca and Nikita I feel we have a line up which will not only with allow us to get quickly up to speed with the new car, but also to fight in the front from the offset."

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