Renault protégé Christian Lundgaard has dismissed suggestions that Fernando Alonso’s return is a snub against its junior programme.
Renault announced last week that Alonso will return to Formula 1 next year, as team-mate to Esteban Ocon, ahead of the overhauled regulations that will be introduced in 2022.
Renault re-launched its Academy in 2016 but so far none of its juniors have secured a Formula 1 seat, with its longest-serving member, Jack Aitken, leaving for a Williams reserve role for 2020.
The manufacturer supports Christian Lundgaard and Guanyu Zhou in Formula 2, both of whom tested the marque’s 2017-spec Formula 1 car last season.
Lundgaard holds second in the Formula 2 standings, five points behind Ferrari-backed Robert Shwartzman, after taking his maiden victory at the Red Bull Ring.
But the Dane stressed that he never had his sights set on a 2021 Renault seat due to the delayed start to 2020 on account of the coronavirus.
“Honestly, because of the crisis we’ve got around the world I wasn’t really expecting to even have a chance for next year,” said 18-year-old Lundgaard.
“I knew that I didn’t have the Super Licence and I knew the team was not going to wait until let’s say after Monza to decide, as I need to be in the top four to have the Super Licence.
“So considering that Fernando is coming back I haven’t really got much details if it’s a one or two or more year contract but for me [the aim has been] just to focus on my own job and then see what the future brings after that.”
Zhou, in his second year of Formula 2, holds seventh in the standings, though was on course for a win in the opening event until he suffered a mechanical failure.
“We had a good chat before the announcement, they [Renault] told me the plans for the team for the future and obviously for myself the main key this season is getting the Super Licence,” said Zhou.
“I’m working as hard as ever trying to reach that, as there will be quite a lot of opportunities for me.
“It’s nice to see Alonso back, to develop the cars, but at the same time I think I’ll be doing a lot of F1 testing as well just to be ready for a seat when everything comes together.”