The Haas F1 Team has confirmed that 21-year-old F2 racer Nikita Mazepin will race with the US outfit next season in Formula 1.
Mazepin recruitment was largely expected as is the yet-to-be-announced hiring of Mick Schumacher.
Ahead of next weekend's finale at Sakhir, the Russian driver currently sits third in the FIA Formula 2 Championship, having won two feature races in the series this year.
"I’m delighted that Nikita Mazepin will be driving for Haas F1 Team next season," stated Guenther Steiner, Team Principal of Haas F1 Team.
"Nikita has underlined his credentials in Formula 2 this year with a brace of victories and a handful of podiums in what’s been a strong sophomore season for him.
"He’s developed into a mature racer moving up through the junior ranks – notably most recently in the GP3 Series, where he finished runner-up in 2018, and obviously in Formula 2 over the past two seasons.
"I’m excited to see what Nikita can achieve in Formula 1 and we look forward to giving him the opportunity to compete at the highest level of world motorsport.
"With a record-setting 23 race schedule set for the 2021 FIA Formula 1 World Championship, he’s going to get plenty of track action to learn all the nuances of grand prix racing.”
Mazepin graduated from karting into cars in 2015 – competing in Formula Renault 2.0 NEC. Two seasons followed in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship before a move into the GP3 Series in 2018. Mazepin finished as runner-up in the title fight that season with four wins, his success leading the way to Formula 2 in 2019
Mazepin has tested in the past in F1 with Racing Point and Mercedes. He also enjoyed a private test program with the latter bankrolled by his father, Belarus-born Russian billionaire Dmitry Mazepin.
"Becoming a Formula 1 driver is a lifelong dream come true for me," said the young Russian.
"I really appreciate the trust being put in me by Gene Haas, Guenther Steiner, and the whole of the team. They’re giving a young driver an opportunity and I thank them for that.
"I’m looking forward to starting our relationship together, both on and off the track, and I’m naturally keen to continue to demonstrate my abilities after a strong Formula 2 season.
"The team will be looking to me for feedback and inputs in order to refine its package for 2021 and beyond. I will take that responsibility on and can’t wait to get started."