Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0
Consistency prevailed in 2018 as Max Fewtrell claimed the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 title, with the Briton coming out on top of a battle that ultimately came down to him and fellow Renault Sport Academy star Christian Lundgaard.
Fewtrell was the rookie champion in 2017 but joined front running R-ace GP for his sophomore season and took six victories on his way to the title, although reliability issues in the penultimate round threw a rather large spanner into the challenge of Lundgaard, who was racing for MP Motorsport.
A podium and a win at the Circuit Paul Ricard got his season off to a strong start, and he secured further wins at Silverstone and the Red Bull Ring, although the latter saw him awarded only half points after a deluge caused an early end to the race. He had to wait until the Nurburgring to claim his fourth win of the year but followed that up with a double victory at the Hockenheimring to edge clear in the championship.
Only twice did Fewtrell fail to score points – in race one at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza and race two at Silverstone – but it was his results in the second half of the season that took him to the top of the standings. In the final ten races, he took six podium finishes including three of his victories and had a worst finish of seventh, and even though he took only two fourth-place finishes in the season finale at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, he had done enough to secure his crown.
Lundgaard would equally have deserved the title having stepped up from winning two Formula 4 titles in 2017, with four victories of his own coming at Monza, Spa-Francorchamps, Hungaroring and Catalunya, but the double retirement at the Hockenheimring left him with too much work to do in the finale to deny Fewtrell.
Of course, it wasn’t all about the Renault-backed drivers, although another – Victor Martins – took two victories of his own across the season at the Red Bull Ring and Spa-Francorchamps, although he could only finish fifth in the championship standings.
Yifei Ye remained in the championship hunt until the final races, with the Josef Kaufmann Racing driver becoming the first Chinese driver to win in the series when he took the chequered flag in race on at Monza, but only one further victory at the Hungaroring saw him fall short in the final reckoning.
Another driver with a lot of potential and with an eye on progressing up the ranks sooner rather than later is Logan Sargeant, with the young American starting and ending the season with a victory at Paul Ricard and Catalunya respectively, while a third win came his way at the Nurburgring. The R-ace GP ace driver was also four-times a runner-up in 2018 and ended the year fourth in the standings, ahead of Martins.
Charles Milesi (R-ace GP) and Alex Peroni (MP Motorsport) also tasted the champagne for victory, the former in Monaco and Silverstone and the latter also at Monaco, while there were also some impressive performances from the likes of Lorenzo Colombo and Oscar Piastri, who, despite not winning a race, both finished inside the top ten in the championship.
But overall, Renault drivers ended the year one and two, and Fewtrell will have the honour of being the latest name on a roll of honour that includes the likes of Lando Norris, Pierre Gasly, Stoffel Vandoorne, Valtteri Bottas, Brendon Hartley and Kamui Kobayashi, who all went on and raced in Formula 1.
Formula Renault 2.0 Northern European Cup
Hopes were high for a bigger field in 2018 as the Formula Renault 2.0 Northern European Cup continues to adjust to being the junior category to Eurocup, but only four full-time entries were present across the year, with four of the races sharing track time with its parent series.
Wildcard entries filled the grid for the race weekends at Pau and Monza, but the four contenders for the crown joined the Eurocup entries for the weekends at Spa-Francorchamps, Hungaroring, Nurburgring and Hockenheimring.
The year started around the streets of Pau with two wet races, both of which were won by Alex Peroni for MP Motorsport, but the Australian was not to compete again for NEC points, with his four remaining appearances coming as part of the Eurocup field. The leading full-time entrant in both Doureid Ghattas, who finished ninth in both races for Anders Motorsport.
R-ace GP took victories in the second round at Monza, with Logan Sargeant and Victor Martins sharing the wins, with Phil Hill of Anders Motorsport being the leading full-timer in both races, eighth in race one and sixth in race two.
The remaining four rounds saw only the four full-timers – Ghattas, Hill, Gabriel Gandulia of R-ace GP and Sharon Scolari of ScoRace Team – eligible for points, so despite the Eurocup races taking all overall victories, the two race wins at Spa-Francorchamps went the way of Hill before Ghattas took the honours in both races at the Hungaroring and Nurburgring and the opening race at the Hockenheimring to clinch the title.
Hill took the final NEC win of the year at the Hockenheimring after making a final race switch to ScoRace Team, but it was too little too late as he finished forty-two points behind Ghattas in the final standings, while Gandulia was a further eight points back despite not winning a race.