Defending Formula 2 Teams’ Championship winners Russian Time have finalised their driving line-up for the 2018 season.
The team has retained last year’s series runner-up Artem Markelov, while also confirming that Honda protégé Tadasuke Makino will drive its second car.
The announcement comes just days after Russian Time was reinstated on the 2018 Formula 2 Championship entry list.
The outfit has enjoyed considerable success in Formula 1’s official feeder series, twice winning the Teams’ Championship titles in 2013 (its maiden year) and 2017. Overall it has claimed 16 race wins.
Markelov, a veteran of 86 GP2 / Formula 2 starts with six of the team’s wins to his credit, will contest a fifth successive season with Russian Time.
“We had a strong season in 2017 when I won five times and finished second to Charles Leclerc in the championship, so it would be nice to go one better,” the Moscow-born driver said.
Joining him is Makino (pictured above, driving for the team at the end-of-year test at Abu Dhabi), who graduates from the FIA Formula 3 European Championship where he finished fifteenth overall in his rookie season.
The Osaka-born 20-year-old is a member of Honda’s Formula Dream Project (HFDP) young driver scheme. He finished runner-up in the 2015 Japanese Formula 4 Championship and fifth overall in the 2016 All-Japan Formula 3 Championship.
Makino is the second HFDP graduate to join this year’s Formula 2 grid, following the Arden team’s appointment of Nirei Fukuzumi, who will also dovetail his F2 commitments with a partial programme in the Super Formula championship in his homeland.
“I started karting at five and always had a dream to race in motorsport’s top category,” said Makino.
“I am now another step closer to that. I’m really looking forward to racing with last year’s champion team, Russian Time.
“Thank-you to all the fans and everyone who has supported me. I’m hoping to meet everyone’s expectations.”
The season-opening round of the 2018 FIA Formula 2 Championship takes place during the Bahrain Formula 1 Grand Prix weekend on April 7-8.
|2018 FIA Formula 2 Championship – Provisional Entry List|
|Russian Time||Artem Markelov||Tadasuke Makino|
|Pertamina Prema Theodore Racing||Sean Gelael||Nyck de Vries|
|ART Grand Prix||Jack Aitken||George Russell|
|MP Motorsport||TBA||Ralph Boschung|
|BWT Arden International||TBA||Nirei Fukuzumi|
|Campos Vexatec Racing||Luca Ghiotto||TBA|
|Carlin||Lando Norris||Sergio Sette Câmara|
|Charouz Racing System||Louis Delétraz||Antonio Fuoco|
Images via FIA Formula 2 Championship