Photo: Alastair Staley/ GP2 Series Media Service
GP2 Series race winner Sam Bird has returned to the championship on the eve of the 2013 season to drive for the new Russian Time outfit.
The British driver finished fifth in the standings in 2010 with ART and sixth in 2011 with iSport, before coming third in Formula Renault 3.5 last year with ISR. The 26-year-old has been working with the Mercedes F1 team since 2010.
Russian Time have taken over the entry of the iSport team, with Bird joining Tom Dillmann at the squad ahead of this weekend?s opening round in Malaysia.
?I am delighted to be joining Russian Time for the 2013 GP2 season and grateful to everybody involved, in particular Igor Mazepa, for choosing me for this exceptional opportunity,? said Bird.
?I look forward to working closely with the team and to helping them achieve their ambition of fighting for the team championship title.?
Mazepa, who tested Luciano Bacheta, Christopher Zanella and Robin Frijns alongside Dillmann at the Barcelona test, added: ?I am pleased to announce Sam Bird as our second driver for Russian Time.
?I think his experience – which includes a Reserve Driver role at Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team, and a strong winning attitude is exactly what we need at Russian Time to complete our extremely competitive line-up.
?As a team, we would like to give Sam our full support and expertise to help bring him at the top of the standings. I am sure that with the addition of Sam to our team, we will reach our goal which is ambitious as we are aiming at the 2013 title.?
Meanwhile, Conor Daly and Pal Varhaug are on their way to Malaysia having tested for Hilmer Motosrport in Barcelona, while Kevin Ceccon and Nathanael Berthon are expected to complete the field with Trident Racing.