GP3 Series runner-up Nikita Mazepin will graduate to FIA Formula 2 Championship with leading ART Grand Prix squad in 2019.

Force India development driver Mazepin did exceedingly well in his maiden year in GP3 with ART with four wins to his name. He was in title contention against teammate Anthoine Hubert until the final weekend but lost out by 16 points in the end.

For 2019, he will stay with the French outfit in F2, which led George Russell to his title this year. “I am really happy to be continuing with ART Grand Prix for my step up to F2,” said the Russian.

“This is a natural progression given our success this year in GP3. I am very much looking forward to the challenge of my rookie season in F2.” It remains to be seen if Mazepin will stay on with Force India in 2019 or not.

Team boss Sebastien Philippe added: “Continuing our partnership with Nikita into Formula 2 is the logical continuation of a successful 2018 season, where he was consistently in the fight for victory and for the GP3 title, something he only just missed out on in the final race weekend of the season.

“Nikita was a rookie in GP3, but his performances were remarkable from day one with a stunning victory in Barcelona. Nikita has several strengths: he is fast and he constantly strives to progress in everything he does.

“I’m sure he can be a centrepiece in our Formula 2 team, just as he was in GP3.” His teammate will be announced at a later stage but Prema driver Nyck de Vries has been tipped to join the Russian.