Renault has promoted British driver Jack Aitken to the role of third and reserve driver for the 2018 Formula 1 season.

Aitken, who is the most senior member of the Renault Sport Academy, takes over the role previously filled by new Williams recruit Sergey Sirotkin.

He finished as runner-up to ART Grand Prix teammate and Mercedes junior George Russell during his sophomore GP3 campaign last season. The British pair will be reunited at the same team’s Formula 2 squad in 2018.

"Jack has been nurtured in the Renault Sport Academy so we've seen his development over the past couple of years," Renault managing director Cyril Abiteboul said. "It is clear he's a talented young driver and he is ready for this opportunity.

"He has a full season ahead of him with racing in Formula 2 and fulfilling his Formula 1 commitments. He has the perfect environment to reach his targets and we are keen on seeing him in action."

Aitken added: "It feels amazing to take up the role as third and reserve driver. It hasn't quite processed yet, but I'm going to step up my involvement with the team quite a lot.

"Over the first Barcelona test, it will start to feel real and sink in a little bit more. The role gives me an opportunity to be closer to Nico and Carlos and learn from them, as well as observing the race team, the engineers and how everything operates.”

Meanwhile, Artem Markelov has been appointed as the French manufacturer's test and development driver, a role which he will dovetail alongside his F2 commitments at reigning champions Russian Time. 

"Renault is a standout name in Formula 1 so to sign for them is a really significant step in my career," the Russian said. ”This year will consist of a lot of listening and learning and taking the opportunity when it comes.

"I'm grateful for the opportunity, and I've had a busy winter of preparing for what will be a demanding season of test driving and racing in the FIA Formula 2 Championship with Russian Time."



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