Hitech GP has confirmed a four-car line-up for the 2019-20 Asian Formula 3 season opener at Sepang this weekend that includes Formula 2 racer Nikita Mazepin.
The 2018 GP3 runner-up, who recently topped post-season F2 testing for Carlin, joined Hitech for the official pre-season test day along with FIA F3 Championship backmarker Alessio Deledda, and both have been signed for the opening round.
Joining them at the team is 2018 runner-up Jake Hughes and reigning champion Ukyo Sasahara, the latter as a guest driver due to his champion status.
Hughes has told Formula Scout that his presence is not confirmed for the full season, although a Hitech press release stated that the team “will field a four-car assault in the third season of the FIA F3 Asia Championship”.
Similarly, Sasahara is believed to only be in the car for one round for now as he is ineligible for championship points.
Following his surprise test appearance earlier this week with Pinnacle Motorsport, 2017 World Series Formula V8 3.5 champion and Haas Formula 1 tester Pietro Fittipaldi has also confirmed he will be racing the full season as team-mate to Red Bull junior Jack Doohan.
If any of the drivers fail to start the first race of the Sepang triple-header, where there are 16 cars on the entry list, then Asian F3 will become the first victim of the FIA’s new superlicence ruling in regard to grid sizes.
The ruling, as revealed by Formula Scout, is written below.
?Where fewer than 16 drivers start the first race of a competition in a championship, the number of points awarded to drivers for that championship shall be reduced,? the new ruling states.
?The reduction shall be proportional to the deficit in the number of drivers below the minimum number of 16 and will be calculated incrementally with respect to this deficit on a basis of a 10% reduction per driver below the minimum (e.g. 100% points where 16 or more drivers start, 90% points where 15 drivers start, 80% where 14 drivers start, etc.).
?Where fewer than 16 drivers start the first race of more than one competition in a championship, the competition with the lowest number of drivers starting the first race shall be decisive for the above purposes.?