Nirei Fukuzumi will move up to the FIA Formula 2 championship for 2018 after Arden Motorsport and Honda reached an agreement.

The Japanese 20-year-old, who is part of Honda’s junior driver programme, has spent the past two seasons in the GP3 Series with ART Grand Prix and finished in third place to George Russell and Jack Aitken in the drivers’ championship last season.

Having caught the eye with feature race wins in Barcelona and Jerez, but saw his title challenge derailed due to non-finishes at Silverstone and Monza, Fukuzumi will move up to F2 for 2018 with Arden Motorsport thanks to his Honda backing.

The Japanese driver will combine his rookie F2 campaign with a season in Super Formula to drive for Team Mugen Honda – effectively taking the place vacated by Pierre Gasly who steps up to full-time Formula 1 drive with Toro Rosso in 2018.

Fukuzumi’s team-mate is expected to be announced by Arden Motorsport in the coming weeks ahead of pre-season testing in Barcelona and Bahrain ahead of the season-opener at the Sakhir circuit on the 6-8 April.

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