Honda junior Nirei Fukuzumi is poised to join the Arden International squad for the 2018 Formula 2 season, Motorsport.com has learned.
Fukuzumi raced in GP3 this season, finishing third in the points behind ART teammates George Russell and Jack Aitken with feature race wins in Barcelona and Jerez.
With Honda keen to promote its 20-year-old protege, multiple sources have indicated that the Japanese car manufacturer has struck a deal to place Fukuzumi at Arden in 2018.
He will drive for the Banbury squad in this week’s post-season test in Abu Dhabi, which will be his first taste of F2 machinery.
Fukuzumi may not be the only Honda-backed driver on the 2018 grid, as Tadasuke Makino could also be in line for a promotion to F2.
Makino endured a tough rookie European F3 campaign for Hitech GP this year, placing 15th in the points and missing July’s Spa round after breaking his wrist.
He will drive for Russian Time in Abu Dhabi testing, but with the team expected to drop off the grid in 2018, Honda is be understood to be exploring alternative berths for him.
Russell and Aitken are set to partner each other once again in 2018 at the ART F2 squad, and will replace Alexander Albon and Nobuharu Matsushita.
Albon has been linked to a switch to DAMS, where he would join Nicholas Latifi, while Matsushita is said to be likely to quit the series after three seasons in favour of a switch to Super Formula.
Additional reporting by Kunihiko Akai and Roberto Chinchero
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