2017 GP3 champion and Mercedes-AMG F1 junior driver George Russell will step up to Formula 2 in 2018 with ART Grand Prix, joining last season’s main GP3 rival Jack Aitken to complete the team’s line-up.
Russell claimed the GP3 title with ART Grand Prix in his first year in the series, taking four wins, four poles and seven additional podium finishes. In August, Russell turned his first official Formula 1 test laps for Mercedes-AMG at the Hungaroring, and in November made his series debut in practice sessions for Sahara Force India team at Interlagos and Abu Dhabi.
Russell also got his first taste of Formula 2 on the Yas Marina circuit in November and December with ART Grand Prix.
“I’m extremely pleased to be moving up into the FIA Formula 2 Championship, continuing to race for ART Grand Prix,” Russell said. “We had an extremely successful season together last year, so it made complete sense to continue working and looking for even more success together.
“With the introduction of the new FIA Formula 2 car, it is going to make it very difficult for all of the teams to optimize the setup early – but I have all the confidence that here at ART, we can hit the ground running.
I’m really looking forward to the first race, competing against the best teams and drivers in the pinnacle of junior motorsport.”
Russell said in December that his goal is to concentrate on the Formula 2 title challenge in the hopes of translating that to an F1 opportunity.
“I hope that’s the plan,” Russell said of more Friday F1 practice appearances. “Certainly talking with Mercedes, I think we’re fairly pleased with what I’ve been doing at the end of this . Obviously again my main priority will be Formula 2 next year, and this all came about because we had sealed the championship already in GP3.
“I don’t want anything to overlap because I’m quite aware that if I win Formula 2 next year, I’ll be given the opportunity the following year to drive in F1. But if I perform really well in FP1 sessions but don’t perform so well in Formula 2, it makes my cause a little bit more difficult. I just need to get my priorities right.”