Honda announced its two drivers in F1’s feeder series with Nobuharu Matsushita returning to FIA Formula 2 Championship and Yuki Tsunoda making his FIA Formula 3 Championship debut in the 2019 season.
Matsushita is no stranger to the F1 paddock after the Japanese driver made his GP2 Series debut in 2015 and raced in the category until 2017 when it was changed to F2. He moved to Super Formula in 2018 owing to a difficult run.
However, he will be back to F2 next year with Carlin – after having raced with ART Grand Prix in his previous three runs. He finished sixth, 11th and sixth respectively in his three years in the F1’s feeder series.
“I am delighted to announce that I’ll be racing with Carlin in the FIA F2 championship next year,” he said. “I am super excited to be racing once again in this championship. I would like to thank Honda, Carlin and all the people who have made this possible.”
Trevor Carlin added: “We are thrilled to welcome Nobu to the team for the 2019 FIA F2 season. He is an exciting driver to watch and we believe he will be a great asset to the team and.
“He’s already a race winner in the championship so we know that together we are more than capable of providing a really strong showing next season. We’re extremely proud to be working with Honda again and to have been entrusted with such a promising Honda Junior driver.”
Carlin – who took the teams’ championship in 2018 – will be without the services of Lando Norris, who graduates to F1 while it remains to be seen if the new McLaren junior Sergio Sette Camara continues on in the category or not.
Elsewhere, Honda also announced the 2018 Japanese F4 champion Tsunoda for the new F3 series with Jenzer Motorsport, as the Japanese racer becomes the first official driver in the championship for the 2019 season.
“I am very pleased that I will be competing next year in the FIA Formula 3 Championship, thanks to support from the Honda young driver program,” he said. “My target has always been to become a Formula 1 driver and joining this international championship is the first step on that road.
“I will be racing in a totally new environment, but that is something I am looking forward to very much. I will be trying my best with the aim of winning races and getting points towards an F1 Super License. Winning the F3 championship one day is the ultimate goal.
“I would like to thank everyone who has helped me get this far, including my sponsors.” As Tsunoda alluded to, this will be his first time outside of Japan under the ‘Honda Formula Dream Project’ scheme. The two will test in Abu Dhabi later this week.