Renault Sport Racing confirms Italian driver Leonardo Lorandi as the latest Renault Sport Affiliate Driver.
Lorandi’s recruitment comes just before the Monaco round of the Formula Renault Eurocup this weekend. The 18-year-old, who hails from Brescia, Northern Italy, currently competes in the Eurocup with JD Motorsport. He opened his season campaign strongly at the opening round at Monza, with one podium and one fastest lap, and currently sits third in the rookie standings.
The young Italian started karting in 2007, taking titles in 2012, 2014 and 2016 before stepping up to single-seaters in 2017 in the Italian Formula 4 Championship. He finished a promising second in the championship in 2018 with five wins, 10 podiums and three pole positions.
As a Renault Sport Affiliate driver, Leonardo will benefit from Renault Sport Racing’s advanced technical and physical training facilities to develop his abilities across the board. His position also allows Renault to assess his talents on a closer basis.
Reigning GP3 Series champion Anthoine Hubert was the first Affiliate in 2018 and has since progressed to a fully-fledged Renault Sport Academy member this year.
Mia Sharizman, Renault Sport Academy director, commented: “It is a pleasure to work more closely with Leonardo. His initial performance in single-seaters has been impressive. He has had a promising start to the Eurocup and can continue his progress through his role as Affiliate Driver. There is definitely room for more Italian drivers at the top levels of the sport, and we hope that Leonardo will develop within the framework of the Academy.”
Leonardo Lorandi added: “I am really happy and proud to get this opportunity; I must thank everyone at Renault. With all of the opportunities Renault offers and the people involved, I feel as though I can make a huge amount of progress. I achieved a good result last year in the Italian F4 Championship, but this is a greater achievement. Being part of such a big and serious team like Renault is a good opportunity and I won’t waste it. I want to keep the Renault colours as high as I can.”
About the Renault Sport Academy
The Renault Sport Academy (RSA) enters its fourth year and second phase of development in 2019, on the back of a very promising campaign last season. Launched in 2016, the RSA aims to find and nurture young racing driver talent and progress such prospects through the junior racing ranks all the way to Formula 1. Renault’s goal is clear: for an RSA driver to be in Formula 1 and become world champion with the team.
Drivers are selected for the Academy based on their talent and potential shown in karting and junior championships. Renault is able to draw upon its global markets and racing acumen to scout standout, young racers. For 2019, the Academy will draw benefits from the development of the Formula 1 team, further strengthening the ties between both programmes.
Three familiar faces remain with the Academy in 2019 as Max Fewtrell, the Formula Renault Eurocup champion in 2018, Christian Lundgaard, runner-up to Max, and Victor Martins are retained from last season. GP3 Series champion Anthoine Hubert steps up his role from Affiliate Driver in 2018 to Academy Driver for 2019. New recruits for 2019 are Chinese European Formula 3 veteran Guanyu Zhou, Brazilian French Formula 4 champion Caio Collet and young Chinese talent Ye Yifei.
Anthoine (Arden) and Guanyu (UNI-Virtuosi) will go head-to-head in the FIA Formula 2 Championship this year. Max and Christian (both ART Grand Prix) will race in the new FIA Formula 3 Championship with Yifei (Hi-tech GP). Victor (MP Motorsport) and Caio (R-ace GP) will go wheel-to-wheel in the Formula Renault Eurocup.