12 months ago Russell secured a junior driver’s dream opportunity by joining reigning F1 champions Mercedes in its junior driver programme.

With support from Mercedes, Russell stormed to the GP3 Series title beating Renault-backed Jack Aitken and graduates into Formula 2 with his title rival becoming his team-mate at ART Grand Prix.

As reward for his GP3 Series title success Russell enjoyed a pair of FP1 outings for Force India at the end of the 2017 F1 campaign while also completing a number of in-season tests for Mercedes.

If Russell can back up his GP3 Series crown with a rookie triumph in F2, it would surely make the 19-year-old irresistible for an F1 drive in 2019 but with the likes of Esteban Ocon and Pascal Wehrlein ahead of him, the British driver’s F1 chances remain in the hands of the Mercedes bosses.

“I cannot wait to take part in the first race and fight against some of the best drivers and teams at the pinnacle of junior motorsport in Formula 2.” Russell said.

“With the introduction of a new Formula 2 car, it will be challenging for all the teams to optimise the set-up from the start of the season, but I have every confidence in ART Grand Prix to get there and to be competitive as quickly as possible.”