Standout rookie Guan Yu Zhou has re-signed with the UNI-Virtuosi Racing team as the Renault Sport Academy driver looks to build on the successes of his 2019 FIA Formula 2 campaign.
The Chinese driver scored one pole position and 5 podiums on his way to securing seventh place in the drivers’ table last season in what was a tough F2 field. The performances last season meant that Zhou was honoured as the top rookie at the FIA prize-giving last season and for 2020 the aim will be to build on these successes and come away with a few wins.
Throughout 2019 Zhou also participated in some simulator work and got his first taste of an F1 car, the Renault R.S. 17, with the Renault Sport Academy and this season he will be staying as part of this squad.
Having finished second in the teams’ standings last season, the Norfolk based UNI-Virtuosi will want Zhou and his teammate Callum Ilott to give the team another strong finish and to even go one better and secure the top spot.
“To be signing again with UNI-Virtuosi Racing, it’s always been my first priority because last year in 2019 was the first year of working with the team, driving the F2 car for the first time, the Pirelli tyres,” said Zhou.
“To be crowned the rookie champion was something really special for me. It shows a lot of potential in the team, and that we have been working really well together. First season as a rookie wasn’t easy, but the team helped me a lot on and off the track and back in the factory. We’ve been working hard and putting a lot of effort in. I can’t thank them enough for last season and for this season I’m just super excited to be getting started and to get back on the podium.”
In regards to the Renault Sport Academy Zhou added: “I’m really happy to be continuing with the Renault F1 team and the Renault Sport Academy. I think the first year of us working together has been super positive, and from the Formula 2 side they helped me to give me more information about each track and the conditions. The RS 17 test and the F1 simulator development has all been really good so that’s why we have been putting a lot of trust in each other and I’m super happy with the partnership with them.”
The UNI-Virtuosi Team Principal Andy Roche is happy to have Zhou back in the team ans is keen to pick up from where they left off last season.
“Guan Yu Zhou settled into the UNI-Virtuosi Racing instantly last year, right from pre-season testing we were delighted with his attitude and approach. The performance in the car spoke for itself, and of course we wanted to re-sign the strongest rookie on the grid in 2019,” said Roche.
“We’ve already seen a strong start to next season with the new combination of Guan Yu Zhou and our new signing Callum Ilott, and their brilliant work done in testing in Abu Dhabi last year. What we learned there will be crucial with the switch to 18-inch wheels this year. With our strong driver line-up, we’re expecting to fight right at the front once again in the 2020 season.”