Renault Sport Academy Trio in F1 Test
The four-day testing programme in Bahrain allowed newly-crowned FIA Formula 3 Champion Oscar Piastri and 2020 FIA Formula 2 race winners, Christian Lundgaard and Guanyu Zhou lap time in the R.S.18.
Speaking ahead of the day Mia Sharizman, Renault Sport Academy Director said;
“Christian and Zhou will be in the R.S.18 for a second time, whilst Oscar will be experiencing his first time in a Formula 1 car as a reward for winning the FIA Formula 3 title plus it is part of his continued progression in the Academy. The plan for the testing days often varies depending on experience, so Oscar’s day will be about getting him up to speed and familiar with the car. For Zhou and Christian, their days will be shaped like an actual race weekend, with practice, qualifying and race simulations.”
This gives fans some insight into what actually happens at such testing days.
“I’ve never been to the Bahrain race circuit, so jumping into an F1 car on a circuit I’ve never driven brought a really nice challenge. I think it all came to me quickly and I felt comfortable straight away on the first run. I’m grateful for the opportunity and I certainly enjoyed every second of it.”, commented the Danish star.
Next up was the Australian F3 Champion Piastri. This was Oscar’s first ever run in Formula 1 machinery, saw the Australian complete 82 laps. The day was aimed at him running through multiple stints on varying fuel loads while testing Pirelli’s range of tyre compounds. A great experience and a dream come true for any driver.
“I really enjoyed the experience, it was very exciting if not a little bit nerve-wracking at the same time! 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, I feel very lucky.”
Last up on the 1st and 2nd of November was current F1 Test Driver Zhou.
“It’s always a privilege to drive a Formula 1 car, so to have this two-day test in Bahrain in the Renault R.S.18 was really beneficial. There was lots of data to collect, we did race runs and qualifying runs. Each time I’m in the car, I’m straight up to speed and I felt quite comfortable. It’s a challenge getting familiar with all the settings but that’s also quite a fun experience. Testing in Bahrain before the Formula 2 race is definitely useful, so I’m really looking forward to racing there later this month.”
#RenaultSportAcademy’s @lundgaardoff, @OscarPiastri and @gyzhou_33 all took to the @BAH_Int_Circuit last week as the trio each had a turn at the wheel of the Renault R.S.18 as part of their young driver development programme.
— Alpine F1 Team (@AlpineF1Team) November 3, 2020
Following the event Renaults Mia Sharizman said,
“We had good feedback from the F1 engineers of the performance from all three drivers and they can see that the level is getting higher and higher each year, which is a good sign for things to come.”
This was valuable track time for all three drivers but a great head start for the Formula 2 pair whom will be back on the 27th of November for the final couple of rounds of their Championship.
Remember you can follow all the action here at insideF2.com with news, session reports and LIVE Lap by Lap action via our interactive Live Blog. Check out our dedicated race page > Bahrain Round 11.