Renault have announced former FIA European Formula 3 driver Guanyu Zhou has joined the Renault Sport Academy and will act as the team’s development driver for 2019.
The 19-year-old has previously been part of the Ferrari Driver Academy, and has recently been working with Formula E team Techeetah in a development role.
The Chinese driver has spent the last two seasons competing in the European F3 series, finishing eighth in the series on both occasions. 2018 saw him secure two race wins, including in the opening event of the season at Pau, plus four further podiums.
Renault, who described Guanyu as one of China’s most promising young racing drivers, confirmed he’ll race in F2 with the UNI-Virtuosi team, as well as working with the F1 team at its Enstone factory. His role will include working in the simulator and taking part in engineering briefings.
Guanyu said: “It’s a huge honour to join Renault Sport Racing as an Academy member and the Formula 1 Team’s Development Driver and I can’t wait to get started. Renault has big ambitions – both for the Formula 1 team and the Academy – and that’s something which motivates me. I know the significance of Renault in China, so I’m especially proud to represent both Renault, as a brand, and China in the racing world.
“Formula 2 is the next step in my career. It looks to be a competitive field of drivers and there is going to be a lot to learn in a short space of time. I’ve been working hard during the winter and the three-days Formula 2 testing in Abu Dhabi was hugely beneficial. I’m looking forward to drawing on Renault’s help and advice this season as I aim for success and trophies.”
Renault Sport Academy Director Mia Sharizman added: “We’re excited to reveal Guanyu as a Renault Sport Academy member and the team’s Formula 1 Development Driver for this year. Guanyu has shown his ability as an excellent driver in the competitive European Formula 3 Championship. We’ve been monitoring Guanyu for some time and we’re very happy to sign him onto the young driver programme. In Guanyu, we have a hard-working, talented individual and we will be aiming to further develop him this season in the Formula 2 Championship.”
Guanyu’s development driver role makes him the first driver from China to have an F1 role with a manufacturer team.