Renault juniors Lundgaard, Piastri and Zhou to test 2018 F1 car in Bahrain
We’ve already seen Ferrari juniors hit the track in F1 machinery this season, and now Renault are set to give their young guns a go, with the news that Renault Academy drivers Christian Lundgaard, Oscar Piastri and Guanyu Zhou will test the 2018 R.S.18 at Bahrain from October 29-November 2.
Danish driver Lundgaard (above) is fourth in the Formula 2 standings and will drive an F1 car for the third time in his career, on October 29. The 19-year-old said that the test at Bahrain would give him valuable experience for the F2 finale that takes place at the same circuit on November 27-29.
“I’ve never actually raced in Bahrain, so doing the test will be valuable for me especially since I’m driving there for the final two rounds of the championship.
“We’ll be looking to use the test to prepare for the race and also for me to learn more about the car. There is nothing better than learning a track in an F1 car, so that’s going to be pretty exciting.”
Recently crowned FIA Formula 3 champion Piastri has never tried F1 machinery and will be making his debut on October 30. The Australian, who previously won the 2019 Formula Renault Eurocup, said: “It’s safe to say I am very excited to be driving the R.S.18 next week in Bahrain. Obviously, it will be my first test in a Formula 1 car, so it will definitely be a moment to cherish and remember for a very long time.
“There will be lots to learn on the day, such as getting used to the power, downforce and braking of the car and it will all be a challenge, but I love tackling new ones.”
Chinese F2 driver Zhou, who is eighth in the standings, will take over the R.S.18 for the final two days of the test on November 1-2.
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“It will be my second time driving the R.S.18, so I’m looking forward to getting back behind the wheel," said Zhou. “This time out the test will also be focused on getting into a full rhythm of an actual F1 race weekend. It’s extremely useful to do these days, as I learn a lot from them and they will help make sure I am ready for a seat in Formula 1.”
Renault Sport Academy head Mia Sharizman explained why the three drivers have been called up in late October/early November, and what their testing days will entail.
“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," he said.
“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.”