Mercedes junior Maximilian Gunther will step up from Formula 3 to race in F2 for Arden International in 2018.
Gunther scored five wins and three pole positions on his way to third place in the 2017 European F3 standings behind Lando Norris and Joel Eriksson in his third season in the third-tier category.
He joins Honda F1 junior Nirei Fukuzumi to complete Arden’s line-up for the 2018 season after testing for Racing Engineering - which has now left F2 - in Abu Dhabi last year.
“I’m absolutely ready to take the next step and can’t wait to go up against the world’s best young drivers,” Gunther, who also recently tested in Formula E for Dragon Racing, said.
“I know that this move will be successful with the backing of Arden’s experienced team. Many thanks also to my partners and sponsors, who are supporting me as I progress.”
Gunther had been targeting a step up to DTM in 2018, but Mercedes is understood to have been unwilling to promote a rookie to a race seat for just one year before quitting.
“We are delighted to welcome Maxi into the team,” said Arden team manager, Kenny Kirwan. “He has been extremely competitive and consistent in European FIA Formula 3 over the past number of years.
“Together with Nirei, we believe that we will start the season with one of the strongest and most consistent rookie driver pairings in the FIA Formula 2 Championship.”
F2 is holding a shakedown event at the Magny-Cours circuit on Wednesday, where the teams will be able to sample their new 2018 machines for the first time.
2018 F2 entry list:
Nyck de Vries
Sergio Sette Camara