Isaakyan replaces injured Atoev in SMP's F3.5 line-up

Matevos Isaakyan will make his first foray into Formula V8 3.5 in 2016, replacing SMP Racing's previously announced signing Vladimir Atoev.

Atoev, 17, was set to step up to F3.5 after two seasons on the F4 level, the Russian finishing runner-up in the 2015 SMP Formula 4 campaign.

However, in preparation for the season, he developed a back injury - and, as such, SMP Racing has decided to shuffle its line-up.

Instead of Atoev, fellow 17-year-old Isaakyan will now partner FR3.5 runner-up Matthieu Vaxiviere, starting with the season opener coming up this weekend at Motorland Aragon.

"I am very happy to be racing in a championship as strong as Formula V8 3.5," Isaakyan said. "And I'm even more pleased to be making my debut alongside SMP Racing, which is a big responsibility.

"My teammate Matthieu Vaxiviere is a very strong driver and I will be able to learn a lot from him."

Isaakyan had previously signed with Koiranen GP in GP3, with the calendar of that series clashing with F3.5 on two separate occasions in 2016 - in July, when F3.5 goes to Silverstone and GP3 supports the Hungarian Grand Prix, and in October, when F3.5 visits Monza and GP3 races at Sepang.

Motorsport.com understands that Isaakyan is likely to race in both series early in the season, but could focus on just one of the championships after a few rounds.

As for Atoev, he is instead set to move to the Euroformula Open championship and is expected to race alongside fellow SMP protege Nikita Zlobin at Teo Martin Motorsport.

In addition, Tech 1's replacement Durango will enter Formula 3.5 as a one-car team with gentleman driver Giuseppe Cipriani at the wheel, bringing the total of confirmed drivers so far up to 14.

2016 Formula V8 3.5 line-up so far:

TeamDrivers
Arden

Egor Orudzhev

Aurelien Panis

AVF

Alfonso Celis

Tom Dillmann

Fortec

Louis Deletraz

Pietro Fittipaldi

Lotus 3.5

Rene Binder

Roy Nissany

Spirit of Race

Matthieu Vaxiviere

Matevos Isaakyan

RP Motorsport

Johnny Cecotto

Vitor Baptista

Teo Martin

Yu Kanamaru

Durango

 Giuseppe Cipriani

Additional reporting by Aleksander Kabanovsky

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About this article
Series Formula V8 3.5
Drivers Matevos Isaakyan , Vladimir Atoev
Teams SMP Racing
Article type Breaking news