Renault’s test and development driver Artem Markelov will make his first official F1 weekend appearance with the team at the Russian Grand Prix later this month, taking the place of Carlos Sainz for FP1 at the Sochi Autodrom.

    Currently fifth in the FIA Formula 2 Championship, the Russian will combine practice duties at his home race with this season’s penultimate F2 round, also taking place in Sochi that weekend, when he’ll be aiming to add to his three 2018 wins to date, in Bahrain, Monaco and Austria.

    "This is the best early birthday present I could get and I am determined to make the most of this opportunity,” said Markelov, who will turn 24 on September 10th.

    Artem Markelov (RUS) Renault Sport F1 Team RS18 at Formula One Testing, Day Two, Hungaroring,
    "Artem was able to prove at the in-season test in Budapest that he deserved this opportunity" - Cyril Abiteboul

    “Being part of Renault Sport Formula One Team has helped me as a racing driver so to be able to put these lessons into practice in Sochi is a tremendous honour."

    Markelov is a frequent visitor to Renault’s simulator at their UK Enstone factory, and the Moscow-born driver is also part of a development programme which includes running in the team’s 2016 car, the R.S.16.

    "We are happy to give Artem this opportunity behind the wheel of the Renault R.S.18 at his home Grand Prix,” said Cyril Abiteboul, Managing Director, Renault Sport Racing. “Artem has shown on and off track this year that he is a valuable team member.

    “Artem was able to prove at the in-season test in Budapest that he deserved this opportunity and we are looking forward to seeing him in action for FP1 at Sochi."