Three of Renault’s junior drivers have taken part in a four-day test event at the Bahrain International Circuit, driving the 2018 R.S.18 as part of their driver development programme.
While Christian Lundgaard and Guanyu Zhou have sampled Formula 1 machinery before, it was Oscar Piastri’s first outing in an F1 car.
Piastri, the reigning Formula 3 champion, completed 82 laps on the second day of the test while taking part in multiple stints with varying fuel loads and Pirelli’s range of tyre compounds.
Piastri described the build-up to the test as “very exciting, if not a little bit nerve-wracking at the same time.”
He continued: “Once I did the install lap, all the nerves went away, and I focused on having fun and driving fast.
“It was a really enjoyable experience and I felt the pace was quite good. I got used to the car pretty quickly and I certainly learnt a lot.
“I’m looking forward to whenever the next experience may be, so thanks to Renault, both the Academy and the Formula 1 team, for the opportunity. I feel very lucky, as not everyone gets to do this and it’s not something you do every day.”
Lundgaard opened the test event for Renault on October 29, accumulating 101 laps which included both qualifying runs and race simulations.
Zhou, who is competing with Lundgaard in Formula 2 this year, drove throughout the final two days of the test.
However Zhou’s first day in the car was marred with issues, limiting his running. For his second day, he was able to make up for lost time, running both qualifying and race simulations.
Mia Sharizman, Renault Sport Academy Director, said: “It was good to see Christian and Guanyu manage to complete their respective programmes, which was geared more towards preparing them for their remaining Formula 2 rounds in Bahrain later in the month.
“For both drivers to be able to do more than 100 laps per day, shows a step forward and upwards progression from their last year F1 Test in the R.S.17.
“I am impressed with Oscar’s approach for his first day in the F1 car. He managed to get up to speed pretty quickly and complete his run plan.
“We can see from his first day in the car that he is capable of adapting to a new car quite easily, which is one of the biggest traits that we would like to see.”