After 116 days away from the action, season 50 of the most famous feeder series returns to action this Monday at Monza. With a field of today’s most promising single-seater hopefuls with some of the best teams in motorsport, one would have to have a crystal ball to predict the 2020 Formula Renault Eurocup winner!
As has been the case each year since 1971, Formula Renault confirms its incredible appeal by attracting the most promising drivers of their generation, won over by its level of competition, its sporting and technical fairness and its international calendar.
After getting a first taste of their cars in Valencia in March, the drivers are now getting ready to fine-tune their preparation and battle - at last! - for a place in the Renault Sport Academy and 18 points towards their super licence.
Plethora of favourites
This 50th season in the history of Formula Renault is now shaping up to be one of the most competitive with so many contenders to succeed Oscar Piastri!
Respectively second and fourth in 2019, Victor Martins and Lorenzo Colombo are certainly among the men to watch. These former team-mates are betting on a third campaign with the title as their lone objective.
While a third campaign paid off for Nyck de Vries in 2014, the two drivers who starred against the leading sim racers in the Formula Renault Esport Series now have to make their mark in a new environment. The Frenchman chose to join ART Grand Prix, which returns to the category after a 16-year absence, while the Italian is back for another year with Bhaitech Racing, a team which claimed three podium results in its first season in the category last year.
And there is another major hurdle standing in their way as R-ace GP is aiming for a third straight crown after the titles won with Max Fewtrell and Oscar Piastri.
To get it done, the French squad are counting on Caio Collet and Petr Ptáček, a duo who won more than half of the Hankook Trophies last season. The chemistry between the Brazilian from the Renault Sport Academy and the Czech from the Sauber Academy quickly bore fruit with Caio Collet setting best time at the collective tests in Valencia.
The advantage of experience?
The list of challengers does not stop here and the battle promises to be incredibly close. Several drivers will be counting on their knowledge of the category, the car or the tyres to fight at the sharp end of the order.
Ugo de Wilde is another to follow with interest. After winning last year at Monza the first race in the Formula Renault FR-19 era, the Belgian driver would like a repeat showing to start his association with Arden Motorsport on the right foot. Alex Quinn will be one of his team mate and the Briton is more motivated than ever to be in the scrap for victory after two podium finishes from six starts in 2019.
In the hunt for the title these past few years, MP Motorsport should once again be in the mix with Formula Renault Asia and the Asian F3 Champion Joey Alders from the Netherlands, and Spanish F4 Champion and promising 2019 wild-card driver Franco Colapinto from Argentina.
Meanwhile, FA Racing intends to highlight its progress with drivers having experience with the FR-19 or the Hankook tyres. The Fernando Alonso team is relying on Amaury Cordeel from Belgium, who had a solid maiden season, and Tijmen van der Helm from The Netherlands, who was a race-winner in New Zealand this winter.
Let’s not forget Grégoire Saucy (ART Grand Prix) as well. Three years after making his category debut, the Swiss driver also wants to live up to the potential he showed in wild-card appearances at the end of 2019 and in New Zealand at the beginning of the year.
An ambitious new wave
Seven rookies will also be at Monza for the first week of the season with the goal of winning the Hankook Trophy awarded to the best newcomer in each race.
French F4 Champion and Renault Sport Academy driver Hadrien David (MP Motorsport) hopes to keep the momentum going while his runner-up Reshad De Gerus (Arden Motorsport) intends to get payback at the next level.
A Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team protégé and race-winner in two F4 Championships, Paul Aron (ART Grand Prix) will go for his first single-seater crown, 10 years after the triumph of his countryman Kevin Korjus. The Estonian will compete against several rivals he knows well, such as Michael Belov (M2 Competition) from Russia, who did a great job with the best 2019 newcomer team in Valencia.
Also coming from Italian F4, Nicola Marinangeli (Bhaitech Racing) from Italy also hopes to shine on home soil, as do William Alatalo (JD Motorsport) from Finland and László Tóth (Bhaitech Racing) from Hungary in the first home round for their teams following their solid performances at the FIA Motorsport Games and in the Formula Renault Esport Series.
The competitors will have 15 hours of track time on Monday and Tuesday. After two more collective tests sessions on Thursday, the first qualifying session will determine the starting grid for race two in order to maintain sporting fairness and in case of an incident in Q2. Scheduled for Friday 13:00 and Saturday 9:45 local time, the first two races of the season will be broadcast live on the Renault Sport Series Facebook page on the Renault Sport YouTube channel.
Monday July 6
9:00 – 12:30 Pre-season collective tests 1
14:00 – 18:00 Pre-season collective tests 2
Tuesday 7 July
9:00 – 12:30 Pre-season collective tests 3
14:00 – 18:00 Pre-season collective tests 4
Thursday July 9
10:00 – 10:50 Collective tests 1
13:50 – 14:40 Collective tests 2
17:40 – 18:00 Qualifying 1
Friday July 10
9:00 – 9:20 Qualifying 2
13:00 – 13:35 Race 1
Saturday July 11
9:45 – 10:20 Race 2