Chinese racer Guanyu Zhou will step up his involvement with Renault Sport Formula One Team by becoming their official test driver for the 2020 season.
the 20-year-old has been associated with the French team since the start of 2019, a year which saw him blossom in FIA Formula 2 with UNI-Virtuosi as he claimed the “Anthoine Hubert Award” for best rookie.
Zhou will remain with UNI-Virtuosi for a second season in 2020 where he will partner Brit Callum Ilott for a championship charge.
Speaking after the announcement of his 2020 plans, Zhou said: “Firstly, I’m looking forward to becoming the team’s Test Driver. It’s another step up from being Development Driver in 2019 where I did a lot of simulator work and some R.S.17 tests.
“The feedback and experience in a Formula 1 car is getting better and the team is happy with my progress and input so far. They’ve given me a lot of trust and I also trust them, so that relationship works very well.
“This year I have an even better opportunity, meaning working harder than before, getting as much information as possible for driving a Formula 1 car and, at the same time, improving the areas the team needs to work on to help them get better in the future.“
Zhou also couldn’t hide his excitement in working underneath Renault’s Formula 1 pairing of Daniel Ricciardo and Esteban Ocon.
He said: “It’s quite cool as Daniel was my favourite driver, so to work with him was a fantastic opportunity. I know Esteban a little bit too and look forward to getting to know him better. It’s going to be fun working with both of them.
“Last year I had a taste of being close to the F1 Team and as Test Driver this year, I’ll spend even more time on track and learning from debriefs and listening to all the driver feedback. Having more information and working with Daniel and Esteban will help me a lot, not only on the Formula 1 side but also for the Formula 2 season.“
The five-time F2 podium finisher also highlighted how close connections with Renault will aid him in his bid for Formula 2 glory.
He said: “I already found Renault F1 Team gave me lots of useful information when I was racing last year. Before each weekend they gave me updates on the weather and track conditions, and at race weekends, also information on track evolution, for example, in between Formula 2 practice and qualifying.
“It’s a huge benefit and it helps massively and I’m looking forward to using their help again this season.”