Guanyu Zhou entered the 2019 season after back-to-back eighth place finishes in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship. He signed with the Academy in 2019 alongside his role as Development Driver for Renault F1 Team.
Racing for UNI-Virtuosi, Guanyu currently sits sixth in the FIA Formula 2 Championship, also occupying the spot as top rookie. Guanyu made a bright start to the year in Bahrain, finishing tenth in race one and a superb fourth in race two. That was followed by disappointment in Baku, but since then, Guanyu has been a regular top six points scorer.
He enjoyed his first Formula 2 podium in Spain and backed that up with an impressive debut run on the Monaco streets with fifth and a Sprint race third.
Further podiums followed in France and Silverstone, where Guanyu recorded his first Formula 2 pole position after dominating qualifying.
Guanyu rounded off the first part of the year with two ninth places in Hungary as he sets his sights on edging towards the top five in the championship.
In conjunction to his racing, Zhou has taken part in multiple runs in Renault-powered Formula 1 cars. In Shanghai, Zhou took part in the Fan Festival in the 2012 E20, before driving the same car on track as a build-up to the 1,000th Grand Prix. In between another demo run at Goodwood, Zhou tested the R.S.17 – his first attempt in a modern Formula 1 car with a hybrid engine – in Austria, France and recently in Spain.
Guanyu Zhou: “I feel the season has been going pretty well. I did not expect to be fighting for Feature Race wins and pole positions at an early stage. It’s great to have adapted quickly to a new car. We’ve worked well as a team and improved quite a lot during each race. I’m happy with how I’ve performed at every round this year but there’s still work to do. There’s sometimes a lack of experience in the Feature Race, especially managing tyres, but overall it’s been good.”
Anthoine Hubert was already on Renault’s books in 2018 as Renault Sport Racing’s Affiliate Driver. He stepped up to become a full Academy member this year as a result of winning the GP3 Series title.
Anthoine races for BWT-Arden and, like Guanyu, has relied on consistent performances to ensure he remains well inside the top eight of the championship. Anthoine sits second best rookie, closely behind Guanyu.
The Frenchman shone at the season-opener with a Feature Race fourth after charging from eleventh on the grid. Baku proved frustrating but Anthoine enjoyed an excellent run of form with finishes of sixth and fifth in Spain before back-to-back Formula 2 wins. The first came in Monaco as a result of starting the Sprint race on pole, before repeating the same feat on home turf in France in front of an electric French crowd.
A fourth-place finish in the Austria Feature Race remain his latest points, as Anthoine aims for a return to scoring after the summer break.
Like Zhou, Anthoine also tested the R.S.17 in Austria for his first run in a modern Formula 1 car.
Anthoine Hubert: “The first part of the season has been better than I expected. Of course, being a rookie in Formula 2 and being with a team rebuilding itself is not easy and we went into the season after tough winter tests. I’m quite happy to be where I am in the championship and the pace we have every weekend. We’re missing some consistency, we’ve not scored at the last couple of rounds, but overall, I’m happy.”