European F3 runner-up Antonio Giovinazzi has been confirmed as Prema Racing's first GP2 Series signing ahead of its maiden foray into the F1 feeder series this year.
The Italian youngster won six races with Carlin in European Formula 3 last year, but while he would eventually lose out to Prema's Felix Rosenqvist in the fight for the title, he will now join forces with the team in 2016 for a GP2 tilt.
Competing at GP2 level for the first time, Prema steps up to the F1 feeder series after huge success in Formula 3, the Italian outfit having won three consecutive drivers' and teams' titles in 2013, 2014 and 2015 with Alex Lynn, Esteban Ocon and Rosenqvist.
Backed by the Indonesian Jagonya Ayam company – which earlier today was confirmed as the new title sponsor of the Campos Racing team through former F3 team-mate Sean Gelael – Giovinazzi is eager to prove both he and Prema can challenge from the off.
“I am delighted to become a part of Prema, a prestigious team with a huge motorsport culture,” he said. “This is a great opportunity for me, because they always showed that they are the best possible choice for a young driver, and I am determined to take the best out of this chance by working as good as I possibly can. I want to thank Prema, my sponsor Jagonya Ayam and the Gelael family as well as my management, MSM.”
For team manager Rene Rosin, who has helmed Prema to success across a number of categories over the years – including Formula Renault 3.5 and Formula Renault 2.0 -, the move to GP2 with Giovinazzi represents a great opportunity.
“Being able to field a greatly talented driver like Antonio in a difficult and challenging championship like the GP2 Series is of course an enormous satisfaction. We know him really well for being one of our most fierce competitors in the F.3 European Championship last season. I always admired him for what he accomplished in his so far young career so I am proud to finally see our paths crossing. Even though he will be a rookie in the series, I think he has all what it takes to deliver from the very beginning.”