Russian teenager Nikita Mazepin is preparing to graduate into the FIA European Formula 3 Championship next season after sealing a deal with Hitech GP.

The 16-year-old from Moscow has strong connections to team owner Oliver Oakes and is the first team-mate announced for George Russell at the Silverstone-based squad for 2016.

Mazepin arrives off the back of a notable maiden season in single-seater racers after finishing 12th overall in the Formula Renault 2.0 Northern European Cup, highlight by a maiden podium at the Red Bull Ring.

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"Since the Renault season finished I have tested the F3 car a few times and I really liked it, the aero and braking is a big step forward from what I have been used to." Mazepin said. "There are a good number of drivers in recent times who have proved F3 is one of the very best single-seater series in the world for developing talent, so I am really happy to be racing in the FIA championship in 2016.

"This season was a good first year for me in cars, I had some good results - it was great to be on the podium at the Red Bull Ring - and learnt a lot. Now, I really am looking forward to stepping up into F3 with the guys at Hitech GP."