Ferrari juniors Leclerc, Fuoco to join GP2 champions

©Prema Racing

New GP3 Series champion Charles Leclerc will graduate to GP2 in 2017 with this year’s title-winning outfit Prema Racing, with the Monegasque set to partner fellow Ferrari junior Antonio Fuoco.

Leclerc sealed the GP3 crown in Abu Dhabi last weekend despite not scoring any points. The 19-year-old had been poised for a GP2 step and told reporters at the Brazilian Grand Prix that he was talking with two or three top teams.

Although ART Grand Prix, which guided Leclerc to the GP3 title this year, also has a front-running outfit in the rung just below F1, the youngster will move to the squad that took Red Bull’s Pierre Gasly to the GP2 honours.

Leclerc, who has had several FP1 outings with Haas as the team's development driver in 2016, also said at Interlagos that he was targeting winning the GP2 title as a rookie next year.

His future team-mate Fuoco is also graduating from GP3 after finishing third in the 2016 Drivers’ standings with a couple of wins. Both have already so been seen at the wheel of a Ferrari F1 car in recent years.

“I am delighted to line-up for the 2017 GP2 Series with Prema and with the Ferrari Driver Academy,” Leclerc said upon the announcement. “I can’t wait to start preparations for this new and exciting challenge.

“After having completed my GP3 experience in the best possible way, I will continue to give my 100 percent to keep bringing home positive results.

“I am sure that the support of the reigning champion team, which also finished 1-2 in the 2016 driver standings, will prove crucial.”

Commenting on his own graduation, Fuoco said: “Entering the GP2 Series in 2017 will be particularly exciting, and doing it with an Italian team which is also the reigning champion will provide some additional motivations for me to do well.

“I already raced with Prema in the past and I am aware of the high performance level of their cars, as confirmed by the outstanding results they got this season.

“I think that combining the potential of both the team and the Ferrari Driver Academy, we will definitely get some great satisfactions and continue in our personal and professional growth.”

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