Former Red Bull junior driver Niko Kari will make his FIA Formula 2 Championship debut from Sochi onward with MP Motorsport.

The 18-year-old steps up to F2 after spending a year and a half in GP3 Series from this weekend’s round at Sochi and will see-through the season at Yas Marina Circuit in November with MP Motorsport.

Kari joined GP3 full-time in 2017 finishing 10th scoring 63 points with Arden International despite missing the final round. He switched to MP Motorsport in 2018 and has had a difficult season to be only 16th with six points.

He now graduates to F2 with the same squad replacing Ralph Boschung alongside another GP3 convert Dorian Boccolacci. “I’m really happy that MP has had the confidence to promote me to their Formula 2 team,” said Kari.

“The new F2 cars have looked fantastic this season, and I can’t wait to step into one of them myself. I’m also looking forward to working with Dorian again, with whom I had a great working relationship during our time as GP3 team mates.”

“Team manager Sander Dorsman added: “Niko has been a bit unlucky in his second GP3 season with us, but he has always shown his raw pace. We are confident that he will quickly convert that pace into results in the final few Formula 2 races of the season.

“With two young hotshoes in our F2 cars, we are aiming to surprise a fair few people in the category in the two remaining weekends at Sochi and Abu Dhabi.” It will be an all-new line-up for MP Motorsport which sits eighth in the championship.

[Read: Merhi returns to F2 from Sochi]