Renault still aiming to promote junior driver to F1 for 2021

Renault says it remains confident that it will have one of its junior drivers competing in Formula 1 for the 2021 season, in order to achieve its long-term target.

Renault revived its young driver scheme when it returned to Formula 1 as a works team in 2016 and has juniors competing in several championships.

Lead youngster Guan Yu Zhou finished seventh in the Formula 2 standings while Christian Lundgaard, who is set to join Zhou in Formula 2 in 2020, classified sixth in the Formula 3 championship.

It also has Yifei Yi, Max Fewtrell, Caio Collet and Victor Martins on its academy.

“It’s clear winning championships as a rookie is becoming more difficult and it means we’re in a great position for our drivers to be competing for titles in 2020,” said Mia Sharizman, Renault Sport Academy Director.

“The target has always been to have an academy driver in a position to be in the Formula 1 race seat by 2021, so there’s a lot of hard work ahead. We’re confident this can be achieved.

“We can call next season the ‘attack’ year for the Academy.

“We aim to win championships and we are also targeting building a reputation for our programme, so the best young talent out there wants to be with Renault.

“I’m very much looking forward to seeing how next season pans out; it’s an exciting time.”

Renault was also hit by the tragic loss of Anthoine Hubert during the Spa-Francorchamps round of the Formula 2 championship.

Hubert, 22, was a Renault affiliated driver in 2018 – during which season he won the GP3 title – and joined its Academy as a fully-fledged member upon his graduation to Formula 2 for 2019.

“I’m exceptionally proud of how the boys conducted themselves through a difficult period in September when we lost our friend Anthoine,” said Sharizman.

“They all race with him in their minds and will undoubtedly continue to do him proud.

“Anthoine was a very quick driver but that came through his hard work and dedication.

“Most of all, he was a true role model, not only for the Academy Drivers, but for everyone involved in the team and the sport. His legacy will live on.”