Renault Sport Racing is delighted to welcome Guanyu Zhou as a Renault Sport Academy member for the 2019 season.
The upcoming Chinese driver will also take on the role as Renault F1 Team’s Development Driver, working closely with Renault F1 Team at its base in Enstone, Oxfordshire, United Kingdom. His role will include driving the team’s simulator and participating in engineering briefings, making him the first driver from the People’s Republic of China to occupy a Formula 1 role with a manufacturer team.
Nineteen-year-old Guanyu is one of China’s most promising young racing drivers and has shown quick progress in his career. Hailing from Shanghai, China, he joins Renault from the FIA Formula 3 European Championship, finishing thirteenth in his first year and eighth in 2017 and 2018. He picked up two wins last season – in Pau and Hockenheim – as well as four further podium finishes.
Guanyu began karting as an eight-year-old and moved to London in 2012 to further his education and racing career. A year later he won the European Junior Rotax and ABKC S1 Rotax Junior Series. A move into single-seaters followed and Guanyu finished runner-up in Italian Formula 4 before moving to the FIA Formula 3 European Championship in 2016.
Guanyu will race in the FIA Formula 2 Championship this year with the newly-formed UNI-Virtuosi team.
Renault Sport Academy Director, Mia Sharizman: “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.”
Chairman of Groupe Renault Asia Pacific Region, Senior Vice President of Groupe Renault China Operations and CEO of Dongfeng Renault Automotive Company (DRAC), Mr. François Provost: “China is an important market for Groupe Renault, so to sign one of China’s best young racing drivers is very pleasing, since it will help elevate our brand awareness in China. This is a further proof to our strategy of ‘In China, For China,’ as we believe it will give a strong boost to the development of motorsport in the country. We anticipate his joining will attract more people to Shanghai, which will witness the 1,000th GP of F1 in April this year.”
Guanyu Zhou: “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.”