Formula 2 Championship frontrunners ART Grand Prix and PREMA Racing have finalised their driving line-ups for the 2019 season by respectively confirming Nyck de Vries and Sean Gelael will partner the already-confirmed rookie drivers Nikita Mazepin and Mick Schumacher.

De Vries will enter his third season of Formula 2 competition, having spent his rookie 2017 season driving for the now-defunct Rapax and Racing Engineering teams before embarking on a full-time campaign in 2018 with PREMA Racing. He finished an impressive seventh overall in the Drivers’ Championship standings in 2017, improving to fourth in 2018 with three victories, six podium finishes and two pole positions.

“I’m grateful to ART Grand Prix for giving me this opportunity to continue my career in Formula 2,” said de Vries, who will line up alongside rookie teammate Nikita Mazepin.

“We have a long history together [de Vries raced for ART in the GP3 Series in 2016]; our relationship has always been great and it feels like coming home! We also have unfinished business and I’m happy to have the opportunity to try to finish it next year in Formula 2 where our goal will be to be crowned champions.”

“I am very happy that the paths of Nyck and ART Grand Prix are crossing once again,” commented ART Grand Prix CEO Sebastien Philippe. “His experience, his seriousness and his top speed make him one of the natural leaders in Formula 2.

“Since our first partnership in GP3, we have seen him progress in all areas, both sporting and personal and he has all the qualities that will allow him to achieve his greatest ambitions and that of the company, namely securing both titles in Formula 2 in 2019.”

Sean Gelael, PREMA Theodore Racing - 2018 Formula 2 Championship Race of Monaco

A second place at the attrition-hit Feature Race in Monaco was Gelael’s fourth and final points’ finish of an underwhelming 2018 season.

De Vries’ former teammate at PREMA Racing, Indonesia’s Sean Gelael, will be retained by the Italian outfit which recently confirmed the high-profile signing of Michael Schumacher’s son, Mick.

The 22-year-old has been a journeyman driver in three-and-a-half seasons of GP2/F2 competition, with two rather fluke second-place finishes as his best results.

His longevity in Formula 1’s feeder series can perhaps be better put down to the financial clout of his father Ricardo, whose Fast Food Indonesia conglomerate (which owns the country’s KFC franchise network that generates $400 million a year in gross sales) has its stickers emblazoned on many of the cars the youngster has raced to-date.

His backing has also propelled him into a number of test driver outings with the Scuderia Toro Rosso Formula 1 team in 2017 and 2018.

Images via FIA Formula 2 Championship

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Geoff Burke

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