Indian racer Arjun Maini has announced his move to the FIA Formula 2 Championship with Italian outfit Trident for the 2018 season. It will be his first year in the series, which forms as the immediate ladder to the FIA Formula 1 Championship.

The Haas F1 Team’s development driver makes the switch after spending last year in the GP3 Series with Jenzer Motorsport, where he finished ninth in the standings, having claimed his maiden win in the season-opener in Barcelona.

“I’m very excited to be competing in the FIA Formula 2 championship with Trident Racing,” said Maini. “I felt we were quite competitive during the post season test and given that the series is using all new cars for the coming season, I’m quite excited for the year ahead.

“Trident is a very strong team and I’m sure if we work hard we’ll be in for some strong results during the course of the season,” he added. Post the GP3 season, Maini tested the old generation F2 (formerly GP2) car in Abu Dhabi.

He spent the first day with his current team Trident, while the other two days he tested with the 2017 F2 champion Russian Time team, where he topped the timesheet on Day 2. The 20-year-old will be joined by his fellow Haas junior Santino Ferrucci in the team.

The American driver made a mid-season switch to F2 last year with Trident and stays on for a full season, which will kick-start in Bahrain during the April 6-8 weekend, comprising of 12 rounds with four flyaways and eight European venues.

The Round 1 will be followed by races in Baku (April 27-29), Barcelona (May 11-13), Monaco (May 24-26), Paul Ricard (June 22-24), Red Bull Ring (June 29-July 1), Hungaroring (July 27-29), Spa-Francorchamps (August 24-26), Monza (August 31-September 2), Sochi (September 28-30) and Abu Dhabi (November 23-25).

Team owner Maurizio Salvadori said: “Today's announcement features many positive and exciting aspects. Our line-up for the FIA Formula 2 Championship can count on two great drivers, on which it is certainly worth relying.

“Arjun is an undoubtedly valuable prospect who has all that it takes to be among the future stars of motorsports for the years to come. It is certainly not by chance that an ambitious Formula 1 outfit, Team Haas, selected him to join their junior development program.

“Team Trident will provide Arjun with the experience and energy needed for him to continue growing up and reach his ultimate professional goals,” he added.

Team manager Giacomo Ricci added: “I'm extremely satisfied and motivated by our 2018 line-up which is a highly competitive and challenging one. We have been following Arjun Maini for a while and he is an undoubtedly talented driver.

“He showed great driving skills and race conduct which are going to be some really important aspects in a demanding series like Formula 2. We hope to see him bring home solid results and to have a really competitive season together.”

Even though Maini and Ferrucci haven’t been officially announced to continue with American F1 outfit Haas in their development role for the 2018 season, but it is widely expected the confirmation will come soon after its team principal Guenther Steiner broke the news about their retention back in December.