George Russell has confirmed he will switch from Carlin to Hitech for his second year in the European Formula 3 series in 2016.
Russell placed sixth in this year’s standings, with a sole win at the opening meeting of the year at Silverstone to his credit, in his first year of F3 competition after stepping up from BRDC F4.
The 17-year-old however, having tested with Hitech, was abruptly dropped from Carlin’s line-up for the Macau Grand Prix, being replaced by Japanese racer Yu Kanamaru.
Hitech, which in a previous guise won the British F3 title in 2007 with Marko Asmer, made a cameo appearance in the 2015 finale at Hockenheim with Alexander Sims, scoring two top-five finishes.
“My focus is on winning the F3 title in 2016,” Russell told Motorsport.com. “Most of my career I have been a rookie, so it’s nice to head into the new season with a year already under my belt.
“As you go up the ladder, the competition gets tougher, and something like F3 is very difficult to just jump in and be on the pace straight away.
“But now I know the tracks, and there’s only one driver who finished ahead of me in the points [Lance Stroll] who is also staying on next year – so I can go into next year feeling confident.”
Hitech manager David Hayle added that the team had been pursuing Russell, who has also tried out FR3.5 and DTM machinery during the winter, since their first test together.
“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,” said Hayle.
“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 also confirmed it will run a three-car team in 2016. Besides Russell, the team has also tested Mucke driver Mikkel Jensen, FR2.0 racer Nikita Mazepin and Red Bull junior Callum Ilott.