GP3 Champion Hubert confirmed as Arden F2 driver/Renault Academy driver

Reigning GP3 champion Anthoine Hubert has been confirmed as a Renault Academy driver and will race for the new Arden-HWA partnership in Formula 2 in 2019.

Hubert had already had affiliation with Renault but has now been confirmed as an Academy driver.

“When it was announced I was affiliated I was really happy but it was always my goal to be a member of this academy.” said Hubert.

“Now that’s done, I’m getting closer to it and the dream to be a French driver in F1 is there, so I will work really hard to try and get there.”

Hubert had tested for MP Motorsport but has decided to sign for Arden for the 2019 Formula 2 season. Arden has a tough season in 2018 taking just one victory with now Formula E racer Maximillian Gunther but Hubert is hopeful of the new Arden-HWA partnership.

“The fact that they are joining with HWA really motivated me to go to them, I hope that the experience of Arden and the professionalism from the structure of HWA can be a good mix and we can achieve great things together.

“They have been working a lot during the winter to get everything structured and everything, but we will start work soon to be ready for the first test.”

Hubert’s teammate has not yet been confirmed but Arden’s 2018 drivers Gunther and Fukuzumi moving on to Formula E and Super Formula.

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Schumacher confirmed at Ferrari

After recent speculation Mick Schumacher has been confirmed as a Ferrari Academy driver, he joins other familar names such as Giuliano Alesi and Enzo Fittipaldi with Alesi and Brit Callum Ilott joining Schumacher in Formula 2.

Schumacher is likely to participate in testing with Ferrari with two mid-season tests taking place this year. This is of course the team where his father Michael took a record-breaking 5 championships in a row and a 7th in total making the name Schumacher synonymous with Ferrari.

“I am thrilled that Ferrari has entered a partnership with me and my next future in motorsport will be in red, being part of the Ferrari Driver Academy and also of the Scuderia Ferrari Family.” Mick said in the Ferrari press release.

“Again, this is another step forward in the right direction, and I can only profit from the immense amount of expertise bundled there.”

“Be sure I will make everything to extract whatever helps me achieve my dream, racing in Formula 1.” 

The reigning European Formula 3 champion will continue with PREMA Powerteam in Formula 2 this season as he looks to win the title and make the step up to Formula One.

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Schumacher won 5 races in a row on his way to the F3 title. Copyright: PREMA Powerteam

“It is more than obvious that Ferrari has a big place in my heart since I was born and also in the hearts of our family, so I am delighted on a personal level about this opportunity as well.”

“At this stage it is however also time to say thank you to my family, friends and partners who supported me all along and helped me arrive at this point.”

Ferrari has an agreement with Sauber through it’s Alfa Romeo sponsorship and the Italians have first say on who fills one of the two seats at the team. First Charles Leclerc and now Antonio Giovinazzi have landed Sauber seats through this proposition and if Schumacher has a good year this year he could find himself with the Swiss team very soon.

The emotional aspect of this deal is very powerful too as Mick looks to follow the footsteps of his father who is still recovering following a skiing accident in 2013. Mattia Binotto had this to say on the announcement:

“For someone like me who has known him from birth, there’s no doubt that welcoming Mick into Ferrari has a special emotional meaning, but we have chosen him for his talent and the human and professional qualities that have already distinguished him despite his young age.”

This a massive good news story and everyone wishes the best for Mick this year in Formula 2, it may not be too long before we hear the Schumacher name again in Formula One.

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Mick Schumacher closing in on Ferrari role

Mick Schumacher son of Michael Schumacher is closing in on a Ferrari Academy role it is understood.

Mick will be racing in Formula 2 this season with PREMA one of the series leading teams and which he won the Formula 3 title with last year. There is every chance that Mick could challenge and win the F2 title this year and would be ready to fill a seat in Formula One in 2020 but F1 experience is something he is lacking despite having enough super licence points to compete in F1.

Mick has been tipped to join the Ferrari Academy where he will participate in two in season tests. This will be the team where his father famously won 5 world championships in a row and dominated the sport.

With Ferrari juniors Daniil Kvyat and Antonio Giovinazzi landing seats with Toro Rosso and Sauber respectively for 2019 Ferrari need a test and simulator driver. Pascal Wehrlein is tipped to fill one of these roles while it would make perfect sense for Schumacher to take the other.

Such a role would be a massive step towards racing in F1 and the fairytale of the sports greatest drivers son in the sport becoming a reality.

No official confirmation from Ferrari has yet been made but expect the Wehrlein and Schumacher announcements to be made at the same time.

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Jack Aitken signs with Campos for 2019

Jack Aitken is now confirmed at Campos for the 2019 F2 season.

The 2017 GP3 runner up will contest his second Formula 2 season after a difficult rookie campaign finishing 11th in the standings with just 1 win while teammate George Russell took the title and finds himself with Williams in F1 this season.

“We are delighted to have Jack join our team. He is an extremely talented driver and putting all elements together we will fight for top honors.” Said Adrian Campos (President Of Campos Racing)

“We will aspire to the highest goals with our work and Jack’s natural talent.”

Campos also had a difficult 2018 failing to take a single victory even with an experienced driver lineup.

“I’m extremely excited to start working with Campos Racing after a promising start in post-season testing” Said Aitken.

“They have the ambition and ability to compete at the very top, and although there’s plenty of work to be done I’m confident we’ll be up to it come Round 1. We are aiming for the top, nothing less.”

Aitken has a lot to prove in 2019 after failing to continue his 2017 form into last season.

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Louis Deletraz completes Carlin F2 lineup

Swiss racer Louis Deletraz will partner Nobuharu Matsushita in an all new driver lineup at Carlin for the 2019 season.

Deletraz who spent last season with the new Charouz Racing System team claimed two podiums in the Monaco and French sprint races.

“I had a good year with Charouz but one of the reasons I couldn’t stay is because of the Sauber deal. It’s complicated,” said Deletraz referring the Charouz’s partnership with Sauber acting as their junior team.

“My first year in F2 was a bit of a disaster for many reasons, but that is in the past, Last year with Charouz, we learned a lot with a new team.”

Deletraz now enters his 3rd season of F2 and has a lot to prove especially now that he will race for the 2018 F2 teams champions.

“I’m going for the win, that’s what we have to do. Winning, being at the front and fighting for the championship is the aim and I have done that already and I want to do it again.”

This season poses at Deletraz’s best opportunity to prove himself, the current Haas test driver needs to start winning races and fighting for the title if he wants a shot at a future F1 drive.

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Dragon confirm new title sponsor and reserve driver

Earlier this week Dragon Racing confirmed that Max Gunther will race alongside Jose Maria Lopez for season 5. Today Dragon confirmed a new title sponsor in GEOX a shoe brand and it’s logos will be all over the bodywork of the car.

“We are very proud and excited about GEOX joining Dragon Formula E team as title partner for the seasons to come,” – Mario Moretti Polegato, President and Founder of GEOX

“As sustainability and respect for the environment are cornerstone founding values of GEOX, it was only the most natural fit to embrace Formula E, which I believe is the future of motor racing, marrying great competition, the most advanced technologies, and a global sustainable approach.”

They also announced that Antonio Fuoco will be the teams test and reserve driver for season 5. Fuoco who currently races in F2 and is a Ferrari Academy driver completed testing with Dragon in Valencia a few weeks ago along with Gunther.

“I think the all-new Season Five Formula E format is very intriguing, and the Gen 2 Penske EV-3 not only looks cool but is very challenging to drive.” Said Antonio Fuoco.

“I enjoy this challenge; it is a lot of fun. I hope Geox Dragon can finish with great results this season, and I will do the maximum to help the team succeed!”

It is not yet known if Fuoco will contest a 3rd season of Formula 2 but with the announcement that his team Charouz Racing System will act as Sauber’s junior team and in term Ferrari’s he has a good shot at remaining with the team. He has had a much stronger season compared to his debut season and took a memorable 1-2 finish for the team in Monaco earlier this year.

Dragon finished 9th in the teams standings in Season 4 and have struggled to consistently score points and Jay Penske believes Fuoco can play a crucial role in helping them move forward:

“We have a lot of work to do to build on the momentum from the end of last season and are making rapid progress towards our goals.

“I expect Antonio’s capabilities, feedback, and intuition will help us quickly achieve these objectives, and I am looking forward to seeing the results of our efforts.”

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What We’ve Learnt This Week #2

What we’ve learnt this week is a weekly round-up of all the paddock news and gossip, we will bring you all the stories from the teams and drivers. This week we bring you the stories following the Italian Grand Prix which is dominated by McLaren this week.

Vandoorne Out, Norris In:

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Copyright: McLaren

McLaren have finalised their driver lineup for 2019 after confirming 18-year-old Lando Norris will partner Carlos Sainz. The news did not come as a massive shock as his participation in FP1 in Spa and Monza indicated McLaren’s direction for their driver lineup.  Lando Norris sits currently second in the Formula 2 drivers standings in his debut season and has a very high reputation in the junior categories with Zak Brown eager to promote the McLaren Junior.

“We believe Lando is an exciting talent, full of potential, who we’ve very deliberately kept within the McLaren fold for exactly that reason.”

There was much speculation as to whether Lando would drive for Toro Rosso with their current driver dilemma but Red Bull were not keen on signing someone else’s driver.

This all of course comes at the expense of Stoffel Vandoorne who has had an up and down 2 seasons at McLaren, he hasn’t been able to out qualify his teammate once this season and currently has 8 points to Alonso’s 44 but McLaren were quick to defend the Belgian.

“It’s clear we haven’t provided Stoffel with the tools to show his true talent, but throughout our relationship he’s proved to be a fantastic team player. His work ethic is impressive, he has a great reputation within the team and we’ve really enjoyed working with him.”

 

Alonso completes IndyCar test:

@McLaren Indy 2

Copyright: IndyCar

Less than a month after the two-time world champion announced he would step away from Formula One in 2019, Alonso took part in a test with the Andretti IndyCar Team. This comes as Alonso looks to soon make the switch to IndyCar full-time from 2019. He has set his sights on winning the Indy 500 and IndyCar championship, which if he wins along with the 2018/2019 WEC super season he will be the first man in history to do so.

Alonso seemed to enjoy his first road course experience in an IndyCar.

“I love to test new cars and to test the Indycar on a road course is something special.”

And when asked if whether he enjoyed the road course more than driving on an oval circuit Alonso said:

“Probably my instinct will tell me road course, because it’s what I’ve been used to doing all my life, but the Indy 500 was an amazing experience, so 50/50,”

Mercedes’ ties also hurt Ocon’s chances (again):

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Copyright: Force India

After Renault confirmed last week that Esteban Ocon’s Mercedes backing was a factor in them not signing the Frenchman; McLaren confirmed that they also had an issue with the German manufacturer’s backing of Ocon.

“Esteban is someone that we rate extremely highly, and I think any time when a driver, you’re looking to something long-term, has ties to another manufacturer, that’s a tick in the wrong box.”

Ocon’s options are soon running out with seats only realistically available at Toro Rosso and Williams, we may have to see Ocon take a step back for next season.

McLaren re-sign Fry:

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Copyright: McLaren

As McLaren looks to restructure it’s technical department and James Key unlikely to join the team until at least next year, McLaren have re-signed their old technical director Pat Fry.  Pat Fry was dropped at the end of 2013 after a dismal season where the team failed to score a single podium for the first time in decades, he made the switch to Ferrari but again had to make way a couple years later as Ferrari made changes to their technical team.

He will focus on the development on the design of the 2019 car as McLaren look to start climbing their way back up grid.

Turvey in frame for Nissan Formula E drive:

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Copyright: NIO

It is understood that Oliver Turvey is one of many drivers in the frame to drive for Nissan e.dams next season. Earlier this year the team confirmed Nico Prost will not be competing his 5th season with the team and Sebastian Buemi’s future also looks in doubt with complications with his Toyota WEC contract forbidding him from driving for another Japanese manufacturer.

Oliver took his first podium in Mexico last season and is regarded as one of Formula E’s most underrated drivers. He has plenty of speed and experience so he would be a great fit for the team but Jean-Paul Driot confirmed that no decision has yet been made.

“We will take the decision during the course of September and so we will make an announcement by the end of September”

Latifi’s previous Formula 2 experience hurting campaign:

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Copyright: Formula 2

Nicholas Latifi took his first victory of the season in Spa but has struggled all season compared to his teammate Alex Albon who sits 3rd in the F2 title. He has struggled to get up to speed with the new Formula 2 car but Nicholas portions some of the blame on his previous experience with the old F2 car.

“So many of the races this year I’ve screwed myself, we’ve gone completely the wrong way [in terms of setup]”

And that being experienced in Formula 2 has no real advantages this season.

“I would’ve almost preferred to be a rookie in F2 this year and when I say that, I think the only benefit I would have taken from having the experience in the previous years was in general how the Pirelli tyres react”

The other “elder- statesman” in Formula 2 is Artem Markelov who currently sits 4th in the title has struggled far less than the Canadian, but with rookies being the two favourites for the title could Latifi be right?

And that’s it for this week. We will bring you more news in our round-up next week.

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