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Russian Time announces Markelov, Honda's Makino as 2018 F2 drivers

Artem Markelov Russian Time F2 Abu Dhabi 2017

Reigning Formula 2 teams' champion Russian Time has revealed it will run 2017 runner-up Artem Markelov and Honda protege Tadasuke Makino in the Formula 1 support series this season.

Russian Time was only officially confirmed as a competitor in the 2018 F2 season on Thursday, having been left off the initial entry list that was released last November.

The team will run Markelov - a veteran of 86 races in GP2/F2 - for a fifth successive season and has partnered him with Makino, who raced in the Formula 3 European championship last year.

"We had a strong season in 2017 when I won five times and finished second to Charles Leclerc in the championship, so it would be nice to go one better," said Markelov.

Tadasuke Makino Russian Time F2 Abu Dhabi testing 2017

Makino, a member of Honda's Formula Dream Project (HFDP) young driver scheme, raced in Japanese Formula 4, Formula 3 and Super GT before driving for Hitech GP in Euro F3 last season.

He finished 15th in the standings and took a best finish of third place in the third Red Bull Ring race.

Makino is the second of Honda's junior drivers to join the 2018 F2 grid, as Nirei Fukuzumi is dovetailing a selected programme of Super Formula events with a second-tier category campaign for Arden International.

"I started karting at five and always had a dream to race in motorsport's top category," said Makino.

"I am now another step closer to that. I'm really looking forward to racing with last year's champion team, Russian Time.

"Thank-you to all the fans and everyone who has supported me. I'm hoping to meet everyone's expectations."

The 2018 season will be Russian Time's sixth year competing at GP2/F2 level.

The team has won 16 races during that time and also won the teams' championship in 2013, its first year competing in GP2.

"As champions we are looking forward to competing with Artem in car number one and Tadasuke driving number two in 2018 in what looks like being another exciting, closely-fought championship," said team principal Svetlana Strelnikova.

2018 Formula 2 entry list

Russian Time: Artem Markelov, Tadasuke Makino
Prema Racing: Sean Gelael, Nyck de Vries
DAMS: TBA, TBA
ART Grand Prix: Jack Aitken, George Russell
MP Motorsport: TBA, TBA
Arden International: Nirei Fukuzumi, TBA
Campos Racing: Luca Ghiotto, TBA
Trident: TBA, TBA
Carlin: Lando Norris, Sergio Sette Camara
Charouz Racing System: Louis Deletraz, Antonio Fuoco

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