First Track Experience of R.S.18 leads to Confidence Building Day for Markelov

by Paul Hensby
Artem Markelov - Renault Sport Formula One Team - Hungaroring

Artem Markelov felt his first test in a 2018 Formula 1 car was a ‘good experience’ as the young Russian FIA Formula 2 racer completed one hundred and eight laps of the Hungaroring on Wednesday for the Renault Sport Formula One Team.

Markelov, a multiple race winner in Formula 2 in both 2017 and 2018, was given the opportunity to take over the driving duties from regular race driver Nico Hülkenberg for day two of the post-Hungarian Grand Prix test, and finished eighth fastest overall of the eleven drivers that took to the track.

The twenty-three-year-old admitted he was forced to adapt to the downforce and breaking differences between the Formula 1 car and the Formula 2 car he is used to, and by the end of the day was building up confidence that he hopes will benefit him the next time he has the opportunity to drive the car.

“It was a really good experience to drive the Renault R.S.18 for the first time and I want to say a big thanks to the team for the opportunity,” said Markelov.  “We started on balance settings to get up to speed, and then various tyre assessments including the fast Hypersofts in the afternoon session.

“The downforce and the braking was different to what I’m used to, but I enjoyed it and it was very interesting to experience that for the first time. I started to build the confidence up as the day progressed, so I expect to get quicker and quicker each time I get an opportunity in the car.”

Renault sporting director, Alan Permane, was pleased with the feedback Markelov gave on his first day in the car, feeling it was strong for someone with so little experience of Formula 1 machinery, and overall the young Russian gave a good account of himself.

“Artem delivered exactly what was required of him today and gave a good account of himself behind the wheel of the R.S.18,” said Permane.  “It was a solid day working through an extensive technical programme which leaves us with a large amount of data to help refine our set-up and development programme.

“Artem’s level of feedback was strong for his first time in the car.”

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