Phillip Horton  |    |   0  |  18 January 2018

Mercedes-backed George Russell secures graduation to F2 with ART

Mercedes protégé George Russell will graduate to Formula 2 with ART Grand Prix this season, the team confirmed on Thursday.

Russell, 19, swept to last year’s GP3 title in his rookie campaign and received Formula 1 practice runs with Force India, having conducted mid-season testing for Mercedes.

Russell carried out post-season Formula 2 testing for ART, the team with which he won the GP3 crown, and will step up to the series this year, joining 2017 team-mate Jack Aitken.

"I am very happy to be able to race in Formula 2 while continuing to drive for ART Grand Prix," he said.

"We had a very successful year together last season and so it makes sense to continue working together and seek out new successes.

"With the introduction of a new Formula 2 car, it will be challenging for all the teams to optimise the set-up from the start of the season, but I have every confidence in ART Grand Prix to get there and to be competitive as quickly as possible.

"I cannot wait to take part in the first race and fight against some of the best drivers and teams at the pinnacle of junior motorsport."

Added ART chief Sébastien Philippe: "ART Grand Prix had a very enjoyable and fruitful year with George in GP3, both sporting and personal, so it was only natural that we renewed our partnership for Formula 2, hand in hand with Mercedes-Benz, where George is one of their young drivers.

"ART Grand Prix’s experience together with George's talent should allow us to fight and defend our title in the entry series to Formula 1."

ART's last title success in the category came under its GP2 guise in 2015, when it won both the Drivers' and Teams' championship with Stoffel Vandoorne.

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