Artem Markelov is aiming to gain a promotion to Formula 1 for 2019, saying that he will either make it to the series or stop racing altogether. The Russian has been linked with the Williams seat in recent weeks as a replacement for Lance Stroll, who is expected to make the move to Force India.
Markelov has been competing in Formula 2 since 2014, and finished in second place in 2017. After his campaign last year, he obtained the 40 super license points needed for a seat in Formula 1.
The Russian is currently part of Renault's junior programme and has previously tested for the Enstone team. However, the French manufacturer has already confirmed that Nico Hulkenberg and Daniel Ricciardo will race for them in 2019.
Williams already has Russian Sergey Sirotkin and SMP Racing on board this year, while Sirotkin is set to stay at Grove for 2019. It is believed that having two Russian drivers would not be compatible, despite the marketing advantage of having two drivers from the same country.
"I think that news you will know more in the end of the year, because we are still don’t know yet 100 percent,” Markelov said. “But hopefully we’ll get some possibilities to drive an F1 car next year. Hopefully, they [Williams] will look at me and try to put me in a car and give me this opportunity. So we’ll see.”
Williams has had many suitors linked with its 2019 seat. Esteban Ocon is set to leave Force India following the expected arrival of Lance Stroll, while Mercedes junior George Russell, who currently leads the F2 championship, is another contender.
And Markelov says that he will either make the switch to F1 or quit racing next year. When asked what his alternative options are, he said: "Maybe finishing. Why not? Finishing or Formula 1. So, a nice word for the writing. Finish or Formula 1.”
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing