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Renault: Academy drivers showing ‘upward progression’ after latest Bahrain test

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Renault’s juniors are showing “upward progression” according to the French manufacturer’s Academy Director Mia Sharizman after Oscar Piastri, Christian Lundgaard and Guanyu Zhou sampled 2018-spec Renault machinery in Bahrain last week.

For recently crowned Formula 3 champion Piastri, it was his first taste of Formula 1 machinery in Bahrain, as the Australian completed 82 laps on a day of running through multiple stints on varying fuel levels, as well as sampling Pirelli’s range of tyre compounds.

Lundgaard also got a day in the 2018 car, having previously run the E20 and R.S.17, completing 101 laps of the 5.412km Bahrain track, where he will race in F2 at their finale later this month, completing a mix of qualifying and long run simulations.

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Zhou has tested the R.S.18 on multiple occasions, as part of his role as test driver, and got two days of running in the Bahrain heat. The first day was limited because of a number of issues, but he made up for lost time on day two, first working on car set-up, then low fuel runs, then switching focus to race runs.

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“To be able to conduct the R.S.18 test in Bahrain with all the additional organisation arrangement needed due to Covid-19, is a testament to our commitment to the Academy drivers,” said Sharizman. “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. 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.”

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