Home Featured Guanyu Zhou stays with Renault and Virtuosi in F2

Guanyu Zhou stays with Renault and Virtuosi in F2

by Ida Wood

Photo: Joe Portlock / LAT Images / FIA F2 Championship

Guanyu Zhou will remain a member of the Renault Sport Academy in 2020, alongside a second Formula 2 season with Virtuosi Racing.

The Chinese driver, a two-time race winner in FIA European Formula 3, stepped up to F2 with the British team last year and his tally of five podiums and a pole position made him the highest placed rookie with seventh in the standings.

It was also his first year with Renault support, having previously raced as a Ferrari Formula 1 junior, and the 20-year-old will continue with the French manufacturer in 2020.

?To be signing again with Virtuosi Racing, it?s always been my first priority,? said Zhou.

?Last year in 2019 was the first year of working with the team, driving the F2 car for the first time, the Pirelli tyres. 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?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 F2 side they helped me to give me more information about each track and the conditions.

“The Renault R.S.17 [F1] test and the 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.?

Zhou will be partnered with Ferrari junior Callum Ilott at Virtuosi this year, while fellow Renault junior Christian Lundgaard has signed for ART Grand Prix.

Virtuosi team principal Andy Roche commented: ?Guanyu Zhou settled into 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.

“We?ve already seen a strong start to next season with the new combination of Guanyu 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.?

Zhou’s fellow Chinese talent Yifei Ye has been dropped from the Renault Sport Academy after a disappointing rookie FIA F3 Championship season.

The 19-year-old – who won the 2016 French Formula 4 title – scored just four points on the way to 21st in the standings with frontrunning team Hitech GP, having been signed after a race-winning Formula Renault Eurocup campaign in 2018.