Red Bull Formula 1 juniors Liam Lawson and Juri Vips have been signed by Hitech Grand Prix to contest the upcoming 2021 Formula 2 season.

The announcement confirms Vips’ expected full-time F2 switch for 2021 after he made six appearances in the category last year as Sean Gelael’s replacement at DAMS.

Vips had been set to race full-time in Super Formula in 2020 before Japan’s COVID-19 travel restrictions scuppered his plans. Instead, the 20-year-old combined F1 reserve duties for Red Bull, as well as subbing for the injured Gelael in F2.

Vips previously raced for Hitech in F3, finishing fourth in the 2019 championship standings.

“I’m really looking forward to working with Hitech again,” said Vips.

“We had a good year in F3 back in 2019, but we have some unfinished business together. They had a great season in their first year in F2 and I’m confident we will be able to fight for the title this season!”

Vips managed a best result of third place in the Mugello sprint race and took part in the post-season F2 test for Hitech alongside Formula 3 frontrunner Liam Lawson, who joins the Estonian at the British squad for 2021.

2019 Toyota Racing Series champion Lawson makes the step up to F2 with Hitech after winning three races on his way to taking fifth place in the 2020 F3 standings.

“I’m excited to be racing in F2 with Hitech this year,” said the 18-year-old Kiwi. “Following two years of Formula 3, I feel prepared to be in this championship and do a good job for the team.

“I learnt a lot in the F2 test in Bahrain with Hitech and got a good feeling with the car. This being said, there’s definitely still a lot more to learn so I am looking forward to the challenge ahead!”

Red Bull has also announced that Jehan Daruvala will continue to race for Carlin in F2 for 2021, after the Indian finished 12th in his rookie season, taking a breakthrough victory at the final race of the season in Bahrain.

Hitech will also line-up with two Red Bull juniors for its 2021 F3 season, having signed rookie pairing Jak Crawford and Ayumu Iwasa.

Crawford claimed five wins and four pole positions as he finished runner up in the ADAC Formula 4 Championship last year.

“I am very happy to spend the 2021 FIA F3 season with Hitech GP,” the American said. “I am excited to make a step up from F4 to compete in the competitive field of drivers.

“With the success the team has had in previous years, I hope I can achieve the same results and fight at the front of the field."

Meanwhile, Honda-backed Iwasa graduates to F3 after winning the French Formula 4 championship with a total of nine victories, 15 podiums and five pole positions.

"I'm looking forward to the challenge ahead,” the 19-year-old, who will also contest the Asian F3 series, said.

“Joining Hitech in both FIA F3 and Asian F3 will be exciting, and I will be able to learn a lot with the success the team have had over the years. I'll do my best to continuously achieve a good result."

Current ADAC Formula 4 champion and Red Bull protege Jonny Edgar will also step up to F3, joining Carlin. 

 

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