The British-Korean driver will balance his Formula 1 duties with a début campaign in the FIA Formula 2 Championship with ART Grand Prix , having graduated from the GP3 Series as runner-up to his team-mate – fellow Brit and Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport prospect George Russell.
Speaking at the launch of the new R.S.18, Aitken said that the news still hasn’t had time to sink in.
“It feels amazing to take up the role as Third and Reserve Driver,” he said.
“It hasn’t quite processed yet, but I’m going to step up my involvement with the team quite a lot.
“Over the first Barcelona test, it will start to feel real and sink in a little bit more.”
Aitken, one of the inaugural members of the Renault Sport Academy, will have a chance to develop the car alongside full-time drivers Nico Hülkenberg and Carlos Sainz Jr. and test and development driver, Artem Markelov – who joins the team for 2018. However, despite seeing 2018 as a learning year, Aitken says that he’d be “ready” to fill in for Hülkenberg or Sainz if needed.
“The role gives me an opportunity to be closer to Nico and Carlos and learn from them, as well as observing the race team, the engineers and how everything operates.
“Of course, if I’m required, I’d be happy to jump in the car, but I hope it’s all fine with Nico and Carlos! At the moment, it will be about continuing my development.”