19-year old Guanyu Zhou has joined the Renault Sport Academy picking up development driver duties this season.
The former European Formula 3 driver from China quickly jumped ship from Ferrari where he was dropped from their academy program after four years.
He partnered title-winning driver Mick Schumacher – now in the Ferrari Academy – at Prema Racing last year’s Euro F3 Championship picking up two victories himself in Pau and at the Hockenheimring.
Guanyu will race in the FIA Formula 2 Championship this year with the newly-formed UNI-Virtuosi team, formerly known as Russian Time.
Working closely with Renault F1 Team at its base in Enstone, his role will include driving the team’s simulator and participating in engineering briefings. He is the first Chinese driver to hold a role in a Formula 1 works team.
We’re very pleased to welcome Chinese teen Guanyu Zhou to the #RenaultSportAcademy for 2019! ‘Joe’ will also take on the role as the team’s Development Driver, alongside duties racing in @FIA_F2.#RSspirit pic.twitter.com/Gt8f8GTP37
— Renault F1 Team (@RenaultF1Team) January 22, 2019
“It’s a huge honour to join Renault Sport Racing,” Guanyu said, “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’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.”
Renault releases their 2019 car on February 15 with Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Hülkenberg to pilot their 2019 campaign.
Images via Guanyu Zhou