Russian driver Alex Smolyar will return for a third season of Formula 3, switching to MP Motorsport after two years with ART Grand Prix.

The SMP-backed racer is the Dutch team’s first signing for 2022 and joins on the back of his strongest season in the third tier to date. Finishing sixth, Smolyar delivered two wins and four podiums for ART.

Initially making his F3 debut in 2020, Smolyar ended his rookie season in 11th with one podium to his name.

“I’m delighted to team up with MP Motorsport for another season in FIA F3”, said Smolyar. “Last year, I fought many duels with MP’s cars as they challenged for the podium finishes that I was aiming to achieve as well, and now we’re together, hoping to take as many wins as we possibly can.

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Smolyar scored two wins and four podiums last season with ART Grand Prix
Smolyar scored two wins and four podiums last season with ART Grand Prix

“We’ll be preparing ourselves to the maximum before we hit the road for testing and the first round in Bahrain.”

Smolyar made his single-seater debut back in 2017, driving for SMP Racing in Spanish F4 and SMP F4. Finishing third in both series, he spent the following two years in Formula Renault Eurocup.

Ending his rookie season in 12th, he went on to finish third again in his second year, taking three wins and a further seven podiums, before the switch to F3.

“It’s great news that Alex and SMP Racing have put their faith in MP for this year’s FIA F3 Championship”, said MP Motorsport team principal Sander Dorsman. “Alex is arguably one of the best drivers to stay in the category for another season, and his vast knowledge of the car and the circuits will serve us well as we look forward to a strong season.”