Renault Sport Academy Mid-Season review

Renault Sport Academy Mid-Season review

08.08.2019: For 2019, the Renault Sport Academy – now in its fourth season - took on four new recruits as Chinese drivers Guanyu Zhou and Yifei Ye, Frenchman Anthoine Hubert and Brazilian teenager Caio Collet all joined the programme.

For 2019, the Renault Sport Academy – now in its fourth season - took on four new recruits as Chinese drivers Guanyu Zhou and Yifei Ye, Frenchman Anthoine Hubert and Brazilian teenager Caio Collet all joined the programme.

Reigning Formula Renault Eurocup champion Max Fewtrell, Eurocup runner-up Christian Lundgaard and Victor Martins were retained from the 2018 intake.

Guanyu and Anthoine entered the FIA Formula 2 Championship as rookies, joining Renault F1 Team Test Driver Jack Aitken – an Academy graduate for 2019 – in the primary Formula 1 feeder category.

Max, Christian and Yifei stepped up from the Eurocup to the newly formed FIA Formula 3 Championship, formerly GP3, with Max and Christian as team-mates with Team’s Champions ART Grand Prix.

Victor remained in the Eurocup with French Formula 4 Champion Caio joining him in the series.

Leonardo Lorandi became Renault Sport Racing’s second-ever Affiliate Driver, announced during the Monaco Grand Prix weekend, and was placed in the Eurocup.

Formula 2

Guanyu Zhou entered the 2019 season after back-to-back eighth place finishes in the FIA Formula 3 European Championship. He signed with the Academy in 2019 alongside his role as Development Driver for Renault F1 Team.

Racing for UNI-Virtuosi, Guanyu currently sits sixth in the FIA Formula 2 Championship, also occupying the spot as top rookie. Guanyu made a bright start to the year in Bahrain, finishing tenth in race one and a superb fourth in race two. That was followed by disappointment in Baku, but since then, Guanyu has been a regular top six points scorer.

He enjoyed his first Formula 2 podium in Spain and backed that up with an impressive debut run on the Monaco streets with fifth and a Sprint race third.

Further podiums followed in France and Silverstone, where Guanyu recorded his first Formula 2 pole position after dominating qualifying.

Guanyu rounded off the first part of the year with two ninth places in Hungary as he sets his sights on edging towards the top five in the championship.

In conjunction to his racing, Zhou has taken part in multiple runs in Renault-powered Formula 1 cars. In Shanghai, Zhou took part in the Fan Festival in the 2012 E20, before driving the same car on track as a build-up to the 1,000th Grand Prix. In between another demo run at Goodwood, Zhou tested the R.S.17 – his first attempt in a modern Formula 1 car with a hybrid engine – in Austria, France and recently in Spain.

Anthoine Hubert was already on Renault’s books in 2018 as Renault Sport Racing’s Affiliate Driver. He stepped up to become a full Academy member this year as a result of winning the GP3 Series title.

Anthoine races for BWT-Arden and, like Guanyu, has relied on consistent performances to ensure he remains well inside the top eight of the championship. Anthoine sits second best rookie, closely behind Guanyu.

The Frenchman shone at the season-opener with a Feature Race fourth after charging from eleventh on the grid. Baku proved frustrating but Anthoine enjoyed an excellent run of form with finishes of sixth and fifth in Spain before back-to-back Formula 2 wins. The first came in Monaco as a result of starting the Sprint race on pole, before repeating the same feat on home turf in France in front of an electric French crowd.

A fourth-place finish in the Austria Feature Race remain his latest points, as Anthoine aims for a return to scoring after the summer break.

Like Zhou, Anthoine also tested the R.S.17 in Austria for his first run in a modern Formula 1 car.

Guanyu Zhou: “I feel the season has been going pretty well. I did not expect to be fighting for Feature Race wins and pole positions at an early stage. It’s great to have adapted quickly to a new car. We’ve worked well as a team and improved quite a lot during each race. I’m happy with how I’ve performed at every round this year but there’s still work to do. There’s sometimes a lack of experience in the Feature Race, especially managing tyres, but overall it’s been good.”

Favourite Moment: “The Feature Race podium in Barcelona. It was my first podium in Formula 2 after finishing third and it’s always a great feeling. I’m the only rookie this season to be on the podium in the Feature Race and it was an amazing moment.”

Targets for the rest of the season: “I want to win a Feature Race. We’re getting close and I know we can do it.”


Guanyu Zhou
6th, 107pts    BAH    BAK    CAT    MCO    LEC    RBR    SIL    HUN
Race 1    10    RET    3    5    4    6    3    9
Race 2    4    10    4    3    3    8    8    9

Anthoine Hubert: “The first part of the season has been better than I expected. Of course, being a rookie in Formula 2 and being with a team rebuilding itself is not easy and we went into the season after tough winter tests. I’m quite happy to be where I am in the championship and the pace we have every weekend. We’re missing some consistency, we’ve not scored at the last couple of rounds, but overall, I’m happy.”

Favourite Moment: “The wins in Monaco and France are the standouts, but if I have to pick one then it’s the victory in France. The support was mega with all the French flags and hearing the national anthem on the podium was amazing.”

Targets for the rest of the season: “We want to be fighting for podiums in the Feature Race and scoring big points. The Feature Race is the one that really matters because you know if you’re in the top eight you have another chance of scoring well in the Sprint. Scoring in every race is the goal and I know we can still achieve great things this year.”


Anthoine Hubert
8th, 77pts    BAH    BAK    CAT    MCO    LEC    RBR    SIL    HUN
Race 1    4    10    6    8    8    4    18    11
Race 2    9    11    5    1    1    17    11    11


Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, 30 August – 1 September

Monza, Italy, 6-8 September

Sochi, Russia, 27-29 September

Yas Marina, Abu Dhabi, 29 November – 1 December 

Formula 3

Christian Lundgaard and Max Fewtrell, racing as team-mates with ART Grand Prix, have impressed in a so far challenging maiden season in the FIA Formula 3 Championship.

Both are in their third season as Renault Sport Academy Drivers having battled for the 2018 Formula Renault Eurocup title.

Christian crossed the line first in the inaugural FIA Formula 3 race in Barcelona, but was handed a time-penalty for a Virtual Safety Car infringement and fell to second. The middle part of the season has proved tricky with bad luck making points hard to come by. But, the Dane enjoyed a solid weekend in Silverstone with a front row place in qualifying followed by finishes of seventh and fifth.

He backed that up in Hungary by taking the maximum 31 points from a race after taking pole position, a lights to flag victory and the fastest lap in race one.

Max, too, has experienced a similar season to Christian. Things began brightly in Spain with finishes of fifth and eighth before a difficult outing in France with no points on the board. Max recovered well, qualifying second and finishing in the same place in Austria. Another frustrating weekend at home in Silverstone was next but again Max bounced back well to take second in Budapest.

Christian and Max are the top two ‘rookie’ drivers in the Championship having not driven Formula 3 machinery before.

Max tested the R.S.17 in Barcelona, Spain in August for his maiden attempt in a hybrid-engine Formula 1 car.

Yifei Ye was announced to the Academy in April at a Renault China event at the Shanghai International Circuit during the 1,000th Grand Prix weekend.

Yifei has endured a difficult season to date and has not scored points, with a best finish of eleventh in Silverstone.

Christian Lundgaard: “The first part of the season has been tough mentally, with up and down moments. We started very well but have had our struggles. I’m confident we can make up the difference before the end of the season. Consistency is key in the championship and unfortunately, we have been weak so far on that. We need to work harder than ever to get back towards the top of the championship. There has been a lot of things to learn and I’m gaining a lot of experience because of it.”

Favourite Moment: “The Budapest weekend was really strong. I was extremely happy with it in general and we just had the pace right from the start. We were well prepared and everything went well. To finally stand on the top step of the podium is a massive confidence boost and keeping this momentum is important.”

Targets for the rest of the season: “My target for the rest of the season is to be more consistent and score points in every race.”


Christian Lundgaard
5th, 73pts    CAT    LEC    RBR    SIL    HUN
Race 1    2    RET    26    7    1
Race 2    6    18    17    5    5

Max Fewtrell: “It’s been a rollercoaster season so far. We’ve had some good results like in Austria and Hungary, but also some tough weekends as well. We know what we’re capable of, we showed that in Hungary with a decent qualifying and a strong race. We just need to nail the consistency for the remaining rounds to keep in touch in the championship.”

Favourite Moment: “The first podium in Austria; that was a nice comeback after a bad weekend in Paul Ricard. It was a good way to bounce back and I was close to battling for the win as well.”

Targets for the rest of the season: “We need to keep up the consistent performances and get some good results on the board. I also want to get a first pole position and win in the series.”


Max Fewtrell

7th, 55pts    CAT    LEC    RBR    SIL    HUN
Race 1    5    RET    2    19    2
Race 2    8    18    4    12    24

Yifei Ye: “The first part of the season has been really difficult. There have been times where we were on for a decent result but our hard work hasn’t paid off. We have been unlucky at times, but also there are a number of areas for me to improve.”

Favourite Moment: “My highlight of the season was breaking into top five in practice and then top ten in qualifying in Silverstone.”

Targets for the rest of the season: “I will keep working hard to come back in good shape for the last three races and put in place what I have learnt from the first half of the season. I’m aiming to score the results the team deserve.”


Yifei Ye
24th, 0pts    CAT    LEC    RBR    SIL    HUN
Race 1    22    13    20    12    18
Race 2    RET    22    RET    11    22


Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, 30 August – 1 September

Monza, Italy, 6-8 September

Sochi, Russia, 27-29 September 

Formula Renault Eurocup

After enjoying a decent rookie season as an Academy driver last year, Victor Martins remained on the programme and in the Eurocup and switched teams from R-ace GP to MP Motorsport.

Victor has recorded seven podiums in 2019 to sit second in the Championship, level on points with the leader.

The Frenchman has been consistent, finishing outside of the top five just once all year. A run of six consecutive podium visits, including a memorable win from pole position in Monaco, has put Victor in an excellent position to challenge for the title.

Caio Collet joined the programme after his superb French Formula 4 championship win last year. The Brazilian sits as top rookie in the 2019 Eurocup and fifth overall in the standings after impressing so far.

Caio has failed to score just once all year and enjoyed podium visits in Monaco and Spa, and leads his nearest rookie rival by 44 points.

Affiliate Driver Leonardo Lorandi is ninth in the series after a mixed season. On debut at home in Monza, Leonardo took second place and followed that up with a sixth-place and then a seventh-place in Silverstone. Since then, picking up points has been a challenge, with Leonardo finishing eighth in Monaco and seventh in Spa after taking a maiden pole position at the Belgian circuit.

Victor Martins:
“The first part of the season has been really good for both the team and I. We’ve had two race weekends where we could have scored more points in view of our potential, but other than that it’s been good. Monaco was almost a perfect weekend with first and second across the two races. We are working hard as a team to find out our problems and I’m sure it will be all sorted for the second part of the season.”

Favourite Moment: “Clearly, it has to be Monaco, where I took my first victory of the season and where I dominated the weekend! It was an emotional weekend for me, which I will never forget. It’s even more pleasing when you win on your favourite track.”

Targets for the rest of the season: “The targets are high and I’m excited to achieve them. The goal is still the same: to win the championship. The important thing will be to dominate weekends and really show that we are the guys to beat. I’m confident in the team and myself so let’s keep working hard for it.”


Victor Martins
2nd, 147pts    MNZ    SIL    MCO    LEC    SPA
Race 1    4    10    1    3    2
Race 2    2    3    2    3    5

Caio Collet: “For me, the season so far has been good and we’ve made progress at every race weekend. I think we’re getting there step by step. We still have some areas to work on and maximise our performance, especially in qualifying. We had some issues at the beginning of the season and sometimes we couldn’t put together a clean weekend. We’re working hard as a team to fix that for the second part of the season.”

Favourite Moment: “My favourite moment of the season so far was qualifying at a wet Monaco. It was an amazing challenge on an amazing circuit!”

Targets for the rest of the season: “My targets for the rest of the season are to improve our qualifying performance and continue to fight for podiums and victories.”


Caio Collet 5th, 99pts    MNZ    SIL    MCO    LEC    SPA
Race 1    12    5    3    5    8
Race 2    7    4    4    4    2

Leonardo Lorandi: “
This season has been a bit up and down, mainly because of some issues we’ve had with the car during race weekends. That’s made us a little inconsistent, but it’s something we’re aiming to improve for the second-half of the year. I’ve had the privilege to drive on many new circuits and test my skills in the car. I’m pretty happy with some of my performances, but especially after the last couple of races, we have things to work on.”

Favourite Moment: “The first race in Monza where the team did a good job and I took my first and only podium so far this season. I also enjoyed the pole position in Spa on a damp track.”

Targets for the rest of the season: “For the rest of the season my target is to improve with the team and as a driver and end the season on a high!”


Leonardo Lorandi 9th, 42pts    MNZ    SIL    MCO    LEC    SPA
Race 1    2    7    RET    16    RET
Race 2    6    11    8    11    7


Nürburgring, Germany, 30 August – 1 September

Budapest, Hungary, 6-8 September

Barcelona, Spain, 27-29 September

Hockenheim, Germany, 4-6 October

Yas Marina, Abu Dhabi, 24-26 October

Marketing and Media Summary

All drivers have enjoyed frequent marketing and media exposure this year. It began in January with the reveal of the 2019 line-up with a series of announcements made over one-day in different Renault markets.

Zhou kickstarted it in China with Christian confirmed in Denmark hours later. Anthoine and Victor visited Viry, Paris, for a media day, shortly followed with British journalists meeting Max at Enstone, UK. Caio rounded off the day in Sao Paulo, Brazil, with a press conference at a kart track. Yifei was confirmed on the Academy at a Renault China event in Shanghai during the Chinese Grand Prix weekend.

With the racing hitting full swing in April, drivers have been kept busy away from the track. Anthoine, Max, Christian and Victor all took part in the French Roadshow demonstration runs in the E20 across France as a build-up to the French Grand Prix. Zhou and Max later entertained the British crowd at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in the same machinery.

Media interviews have been frequent for the drivers both at the race track and while training, including: Max with Sky Sports F1 in Spain, Anthoine with Canal + and RMC in France, Caio with UOL in Oxford and various features for Zhou and Yifei in China and Christian in Denmark.

- Renault Sport also photos


08.08.2019 / MaP

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