Clement Novalak has signed with MP Motorsport to step up to Formula 2 for the final two rounds of 2021 ahead of a full season with the team in 2022.
Novalak finished third in the FIA Formula 3 Championship this year with Trident in his second season in the category after winning the BRDC British F3 title in 2019.
The 20-year-old will replace Lirim Zendeli in MP’s F2 line-up for the season-ending rounds in Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi.
“I’m delighted to get my first taste of F2 as soon as at Jeddah and Yas Marina,” said Novalak. “This will only help me towards my ambitions for a first full season in F2 in 2022.
“I’m truly thankful to MP Motorsport for handing me this opportunity, and I fully intend to make the most of it. MP has been a race-winning outfit in F2 for the past two years, so I hope that teaming up with them will allow me to return to my winning ways. I can’t wait to get started!”
Richard Verschoor has led MP’s F2 effort this year despite only appearing on a round-by-round basis, and sits 10th in the standings having taken a sprint race victory at Silverstone. Zendeli is 17th in the points with best finishes of seventh.
“We are very happy to welcome Clement in our F2 line-up for 2022, and are especially excited to give him his first runs in a Formula 2 car in the six 2021 races still coming up,” said team boss Sander Dorsman.
“He pulled together a very strong season in F3, and especially his late run of form that took him up from sixth to third in the standings was extremely impressive.
“We are aiming to capitalise on that momentum by putting him in one of our F2 cars in the two remaining rounds on the Arabian peninsula. For next year, I’m sure he will be among the outstanding rookies of the year.”
Novalak, who is the first driver to be confirmed for the 2022 F2 season, previously tested F2 machinery at the end of last year with Trident and Virtuosi before committing to another year in F3.
In a social media post, Zendeli said he was “dropping out early” due to financial reasons.
“The pandemic has reduced my already very tight budget even further,” he said. “First of all I’d like to thank my sponsors from Germany who have been reliable and are not the reason for the sudden cut. Especially Ajdini who had to cover unexpected budget gaps caused by promises not kept by someone else.
“I am proud I could get the chance to compete in F2 coming from ‘a normal family’ monetarily. I’d also like to thank MP Motorsport who has been patient and supportive the whole time.
“Realising that I have to step back for a moment is very tough but I will try everything to find an exciting opportunity to be back on track as soon as possible.”