Racing Engineering has confirmed that Raffaele Marciello will lead its GP2 Series team in defence of its drivers' title in 2014.

The Italian, who succeeds reigning champion Fabio Leimer at the Sanlucar del Barrameda-based squad, is the latest FIA European F3 champion, having claimed the 2013 crown as a 19-year old with Prema Powerteam. Like Leimer, he was born in Switzerland, but carries Italian nationality - like another Racing Engineering success story, Giorgio Pantano. Despite his lack of years, Marciello is already a very experienced driver, having competed in karting for five years before moving into single-seaters in the Formula Abarth series in 2010.

For the last three years, he has been winning regularly in F3, and his success attracted the attention of the Ferrari Driver Academy, which aims to develop young talent with the aim of reaching F1. Marciello has stood out in each category he has contested, finishing third overall in the 2011 F3 Euroseries before finishing second overall in his debut year in FIA European F3, with seven wins.

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Last year, he was even more impressive, scoring 13 wins and standing on the podium 18 times on his way to claiming the title, marking himself out as a coveted target for this year's GP2 campaign.

"I am proud of the choice to race with Raffaele this year and confident that his past experience and support of the Ferrari Driver Academy will be a benefit for Racing Engineering in our targets for the season," team president Alfonso de Orl?ans-Borb?n commented, "This confidence is also a result of the efforts and great amount of work that this team has been producing during these last years. With this, we are very happy to have among our ranks the current European F3 champion for the 2014 season, something that will motivate us even more to equal, if not improve, the results in GP2 that Racing Engineering had last season."

Marciello, similarly, was delighted to have the opportunity to link up with the reigning series champion.

"I'm really happy to be a part of Racing Engineering," he claimed, "It is one of the strongest teams and I feel best placed and very proud to be with them.

"GP2 is a fantastic platform because you can start learning more about tyre management and because you are also in the paddock close to the F1 environment. I am really thankful for the continued support of Ferrari Driver Academy and for the opportunity to race with my new team, I'm sure that we'll do a really good job together."