Reigning FIA European Formula 3 champion Raffaele Marciello has finally been confirmed with leading GP2 squad Racing Engineering.
At 19-years-old, Marciello enters the GP2 Series with quite some momentum behind him and is certainly one of the more exciting prospects to enter the series for some years.
With Stoffel Vandoorne competing with ART Grand Prix and Mitch Evans still expecting to claim a seat, Marciello’s addition to the GP2 Series almost certainly makes this the most anticipated line-up since the 2011 season.
That Marciello is one of the leading lights of Ferrari’s Driver Development Programme (headed by former engineer and strategist Luca Baldisserri) is an indication of just how highly rated the teenager is.
The movements of the Swiss-Italian racer had been a subject of speculation for many months, with the pendulum swinging from Formula Renault 3.5 toward GP2 following the Christmas break.
As well as partaking in several DTM and FR3.5 tests, Marciello ran with Racing Engineering at the GP2 post-season test at the Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi late last year, impressing the Spanish team in the process.
For Marciello, this was the step he had been searching for. “GP2 is a fantastic platform because you can start learning more about tire management and because you are also in the paddock close to the Formula 1 environment. I am really thankful for the continued support of Ferrari Driver Academy and for the opportunity to race with my new team, I’m sure that we’ll do a really good job together.”
The signing of Marciello also gives Racing Engineering a shot at a 2nd consecutive GP2 Drivers’ title, having found success with Fabio Leimer last year, but team president Alfonso de Orléans-Borbón has his eyes firmly set on the Teams’ Title. “This confidence is a result of the efforts and great amount of work that this team has been producing during these last years. With this, we are very happy to have among our ranks the current European F3 champion for the 2014 season, something that will motivate us even more to equal, if not improve, the results in GP2 that Racing Engineering had last season.”
Although Racing Engineering have yet to announce their second driver, the arrival of Marciello makes them a very potent force indeed.