Kiwi Marcus Armstrong now one step closer to Formula 1
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We waited over three decades for Brendon Hartley to break the drought for Kiwis competing at the top level of international motorsport — Formula 1. And, fingers crossed, the news unveiled overnight is indicative of the next wait being significantly shorter.
Christchurch's Marcus Amstrong has confirmed that he will be shifting from FIA Formula 3 to FIA Formula 2 for 2020, after a trying but ultimately successful debut season in the series. He will join ART Grand Prix for next season, alongside a yet-to-be-announced teammate.
“It’s an honour to join ART Grand Prix for many reasons. Mainly because of the team’s huge history; it’s been a driving force in GP2 and F2 over the last fifteen years and a lot of F1 drivers have come from the ranks of ART Grand Prix,” said Armstrong.
“Secondly, I came to in Paris to meet everybody and my first impression is that everybody is really professional, they try to find small advantages everywhere — and there is a little pressure to be honest!
“I’m confident we can be successful together because the team wants to teach me all the right things and one of my strengths has always been to adapt to new situations. I will have to learn pit stops and race strategy, but I’m determined to do a good job straight away.”
Armstrong's career thus far has him squarely on the trajectory to make it into Formula 1. Although outright titles are sparse sans an Italian F4 Championship win in 2017, the 19-year-old has been there or thereabouts across a multitude of open-wheel series. Second in the 2017 ADAC Formula 4 Championship, an unlucky third and second in the local Castrol Toyota Racing Series, and second in last year's FIA Formula 3 Championship.
Joining the F2 (formerly GP2) ranks puts Armstrong in potential esteemed company. Current Formula 1 drivers Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes), Charles Leclerc (Ferrari), Romain Grosjean (HAAS), Pierre Gasley (Toro Rosso), Lando Norris (McLaren), Alex Alob (Red Bull), and George Russell (Williams) all graduated from F2/GP2.
In the case of Hamilton, Grosjean, Albon, and Russell, they competed in the series with Armstrong's new team ART Grand Prix — a fact that underlines not only the potential for Armstrong if he performs well, but also the huge pressure there will be to perform.
The 12-round 2020 Formula 2 calendar kicks off in Bahrain on March 21.