Russian teenager Nikita Mazepin will graduate into the FIA Formula 3 European Championship next season after finalising a deal with Hitech GP to pilot a Dallara-Mercedes in the globe’s premier, and most hotly contested, F3 series.
The 16-year-old from Moscow, who has a longstanding association with Hitech GP team owner Oliver Oakes, will partner Britain’s George Russell at the Silverstone-based squad which is aiming to make an impact on the established order when it makes its full debut in FIA Formula 3 in 2016.
Mazepin arrives in the prestigious championship off the back of a notable maiden season in cars this year in the Formula Renault 2.0 Northern European Cup (NEC). Ending the year 12th overall in the driver standings, he was the sixth highest placed rookie and achieved his maiden podium in only the third race meeting of the campaign at the Red Bull Ring in Austria.
“Since the Renault season finished I have tested the F3 car a few times and I really liked it, the aero and braking is a big step forward from what I have been used to”, said Mazepin, “There are a good number of drivers in recent times who have proved F3 is one of the very best single-seater series in the world for developing talent, so I am really happy to be racing in the FIA championship in 2016.
“This season was a good first year for me in cars, I had some good results – it was great to be on the podium at the Red Bull Ring – and learnt a lot. Now, I really am looking forward to stepping up into F3 with the guys at Hitech GP.”
Hitech GP Team Manager David Hayle:
"We followed Nikita's results closely over the course of this season in Formula Renault – like any young driver, the step-up from karting to cars is never an easy one but he had some good weekends, good results, and conducted himself well. Moving up to F3 is obviously a step up from what he has done so far, but from the job he has done in testing with us I am confident in Nikita’s ability to do us proud next season in FIA F3.”