FIA Formula 3 champion Oscar Piastri will make his Formula 1 test debut alongside two of Renault’s other juniors in a private Bahrain test next week.
Renault’s R.S.18, which was raced in F1 two years ago, will be used for the four-day test and driven by Piastri and his fellow Renault Sport Academy members Christian Lundgaard and Guanyu Zhou, both Formula 2 race-winners.
F2 rookie Lundgaard will pilot the car on October 29, which will mark his third test outing with the team, before Piastri tries an F1 car for the very first time on October 30. The final two days of the test (November 1/2) will be solely for Renault’s official test driver Zhou.
With Renault’s rebranding of its F1 team to Alpine next year, and the return of Fernando Alonso to its line-up at the expense of a promotion of a junior driver, Renault has claimed the upcoming Bahrain test demonstrated the “team’s continued commitment to the Academy as it readies its junior drivers for a F1 race seat in the future”.
Piastri, who is aiming to graduate to F2 in 2021, said of the test: “It’s safe to say I am very excited to be driving the R.S.18 next week in Bahrain. Obviously, it will be my first test in a F1 car, so it will definitely be a moment to cherish and remember for a very long time.
“It’s not every day that you get the opportunity to drive an F1 car, so I am very grateful to the team for the opportunity. There will be lots to learn on the day, such as getting used to the power, downforce and braking of the car and it will all be a challenge, but I love tackling new ones.
“I drove the Bahrain circuit earlier this year when we did the FIA Formula 3 pre-season test, but I’ve obviously never lapped the circuit in an F1 car, so I can’t wait to get out on track.”
Piastri’s main FIA F3 title rival Theo Pourchaire, a Sauber junior, will also be going to Bahrain next month as he makes his F2 debut with HWA Racelab.