Fast rising British single-seater star George Russell has today, TBC, been announced as Hitech GP’s first driver signing for the squad’s maiden season of FIA Formula 3 European Championship action next year – the 2014 McLaren Autosport BRDC Award winner’s second season in the category.
Finishing sixth overall in his first year in the globe’s premier F3 championship, 17-year-old Russell has joined Silverstone-based Hitech GP off the back of a highly successful series of tests in recent weeks at the wheel of one of the team’s three Dallara-Mercedes cars.
Russell, who is part of the British Racing Drivers’ Club (BRDC) SuperStar programme, needs little introduction – after securing multiple titles in karting, the King’s Lynn driver graduated into cars last year in Formula Renault 2.0 and also dovetailed his commitments there with participation in the 2014 BRDC Formula 4 Championship, winning the latter.As part of his prize for winning the BRDC F4 crown, Russell earned a test in a GP3 Series car and he went on to be nominated for the prestigious McLaren Autosport BRDC Award which he won, along with a prize Formula One test with McLaren-Mercedes, to cap a magnificent rookie year in cars.His step up into the FIA Formula 3 European Championship this year was similarly impressive, winning on the first weekend and going on to conclude the campaign sixth in the driver standings and second in the Rookie championship. He also finished runner-up in the annual Masters of F3 at Zandvoort although planned entry into the end-of-year Macau F3 Grand Prix didn’t come to fruition.
“After testing with Hitech at the end of the F3 season, it was obvious to me how professional they were and how motivated they are to win”, said Russell, “By being let down at the last minute for Macau, it made any decision in joining Hitech an easy choice. The team showed [when it raced] in Hockenheim it can be immediately competitive. I am really looking forward to the season.”
Hitech GP, which is headed by owner Oliver Oakes and team manager David Hayle, has a strong history in Formula 3 racing in its previous guise and the newly formed entity intends to mount a significant challenge in its very first year of competition in the world’s toughest F3 championship.
Indeed, with a driver of Russell’s calibre and standing confirmed as the team’s initial signing for the 2016 FIA Formula 3 European Championship the British squad is setting its stall out early with regard to its ambitions.
Hitech GP Team Manager David Hayle:
“Since George sat in our car post-Hockenheim, I have made no secret of the fact we would love to have him with us next season. In the testing to date he has impressed us with his maturity and professionalism and, hopefully, with some good steps forward over the winter we can fight at the sharp end in 2016.”
Hitech GP Team Owner Oliver Oakes:
“I am happy George has placed his faith in us, his results over the last few years have underlined his talent. He had a good rookie season this year in F3 and showed in his recent DTM testing duties with BMW he is a talent for the future.
“We know for a new team to come into a championship as competitive as FIA F3 and challenge at the front will not be easy. Hockenheim in October was a good debut for Hitech GP, now we need to build on that from the get-go next season.”
Hitech GP will announce the remainder of its three car line-up for next season’s FIA Formula 3 European Championship in the coming weeks. Several drivers are currently being evaluated.