Formula 2 race winners Guanyu Zhou and Christian Lundgaard will enjoy a run in the Renault R.S.18 during a four-day testing programme at Bahrain later this month.
Renault say the test is aimed at preparing the duo for a potential “Formula 1 race seat in the future,” with the pair rewarded for their success this season.
Lundgaard – who is the highest placed driver of the two - will take to the 2018 car first on day one of the test. The 19-year-old rookie is fourth in the Championship with two wins and six podiums this season, at ART Grand Prix.
“I am very excited to be testing the R.S.18 next weekend,” elated Lundgaard. “I’ve done two test days before in a Formula 1 car, so we’ll be looking to build on where I left off.
“I’ve never actually raced in Bahrain, so doing the test will be valuable for me especially since I’m driving there for the final two rounds of championship.
“We’ll be looking to use the test to prepare for the race and also for me to learn more about the car. There is nothing better than learning a track in an F1 car, so that’s going to be pretty exciting.”
Zhou - who is the team’s official Test Driver - will take over the Renault or the final two days of testing. The Chinese racer is eighth in the 2020 standings, with one win and five podiums.
“It will be my second time driving the R.S.18, so I’m looking forward to getting back behind the wheel,” Zhou said. “My past experience with the R.S.17 and 18 was all about getting familiar with the car, whilst this year it’s been geared towards some of the smaller aspects, such as finding the right balance in the car and identifying what set-up suits me best.
“This time out the test will also be focused on getting into a full rhythm of an actual F1 race weekend. It’s extremely useful to do these days, as I learn a lot from them, and they will help make sure I am ready for a seat in Formula 1.
“It’ll also be good to drive around the Sakhir circuit in Bahrain a few weeks ahead of our final two rounds there in the championship.”
Renault Academy Director Mia Sharizman added: “The tests in Bahrain are part of a planned programme that the Academy has delivered every year for the past three years.
“It’s a good opportunity for us to show the progression and level of achievement of the drivers in the Academy. Christian and Zhou will be in the R.S.18 for a second time, whilst Oscar will be experiencing his first time in a Formula 1 car as a reward for winning the FIA Formula 3 title plus it is part of his continued progression in the Academy.”
Sharizman also explained that Zhou and Lundgaard’s test days will be geared at simulating an F1 race weekend, with practice and qualifying, followed by race simulations.
He concluded: “Bahrain is a very good test location for us, and beneficial for both Zhou and Christian who will race here later in November for the final two rounds of the FIA Formula 2 Championship.”