SMP Racing protege Michael Belov has joined the FIA Formula 3 Championship grid for the rest of the season as David Schumacher’s replacement at Charouz Racing System.
Schumacher has left Charouz and moved to Carlin for the final three rounds of the season having yet to score a point in the championship so far.
Belov has been racing in the Formula Renault Eurocup this season as a single entry for the M2 Competition team, sitting seventh in the standings after four races.
The 18-year-old will race for Charouz this weekend at Spa and then the rounds at Monza and Mugello in the following weekends, meaning he will miss the Eurocup events at the Nurburgring and Magny-Cours, but he would then be free to contest the final six rounds of the Renault-run series.
“The transition to Formula 3 is a big step forward for me,” Belov said. “It will be difficult, but I will try to adapt as quickly as possible.
“I think it’s good that my debut in such a serious championship will take place at Spa-Francorchamps. There are both high-speed and slow turns, where I can get a feel for the car.
“I am sure that my mentors SMP Racing and the Charouz Racing System team will help me get used to this difficult championship, where many strong drivers are competing. For my part, I will make every effort to show a good result.”
Belov will be racing against fellow SMP protege Alexander Smolyar, who tested with Charouz at the end of last season before joining ART Grand Prix.
“For our programme, this is definitely one more step forward,” said Peter Aleshin, director of the SMP Racing young driver programme. “For Michael this is a big challenge, and together we will do everything to help him adapt.
“He will have to do three rounds in a row, but he already has a similar experience. Last year, he combined participation in two series, where he successfully proved himself. Michael copes well with high loads, is always focused and listens to the team, so he has valuable qualities for a driver.”
Belov was second in SMP’s own F4 championship in 2018 and last year finished fourth in Italian F4 with Bhaitech and eighth in the German ADAC series with R-ace GP.
His arrival is one of several changes to the FIA F3 grid for Spa. In addition to Schumacher’s Carlin move, Max Fewtrell has left Hitech and been replaced by Pierre-Louis Chovet while Andreas Estner is standing in for Sophia Floersch.