Sam Bird will return to the GP2 Series this year after sealing a last-minute deal with new squad Russian Time. The 26-year-old Briton raced in the championship from 2010-'11 with ART and iSport before switching to Formula Renault 3.5 last year. Bird will partner former German F3 champion Tom Dillmann at the team.
"I am delighted to be joining Russian Time for the 2013 GP2 season and grateful to everybody involved, in particular [team boss] 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".
Russian Time confirmed last month that it had taken over the entry previously held by iSport. Team boss Mazepa believes that Bird's experience, which includes a GP2 win and seven further podiums as well as his work as reserve driver for the Mercedes Formula 1 team, will be of great benefit to the outfit.
"I think his experience and a strong winning attitude is exactly what we need at Russian Time to complete our extremely competitive lineup," he said. "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 for the 2013 title."
The GP2 season starts this weekend at Sepang.
2013 GP2 lineup so far:
DAMS Marcus Ericsson Stephane Richelmi
ART James Calado Daniel Abt
Arden International Johnny Cecotto Jr Mitch Evans
Racing Engineering Fabio Leimer Julian Leal
Carlin Felipe Nasr Jolyon Palmer
Russian Time Tom Dillmann Sam Bird
Caterham Racing Ma Qing Hua Sergio Canamasas
Addax Team Rio Haryanto Jake Rosenzweig
Rapax Stefano Coletti Simon Trummer
Trident Racing TBA TBA
Hilmer Motorsport TBA TBA
Lazarus GP Rene Binder Kevin Giovesi
MP Motorsport Daniel de Jong Adrian Quaife-Hobbs