Renault remains confident of getting its first young driver academy member onto the Formula 1 grid for the 2021 season.

The Renault Sport Academy was established upon the return of the French manufacturer to F1 back in 2016, featuring drivers such as Oliver Rowland, Sacha Fenestraz and Jack Aitken, the last of whom has graduated into a development role with Renault F1 Team.

Anthoine Hubert also enjoyed backing from Renault prior to his death at Spa in the Formula 2 Feature Race in August.

A number of promising youngsters remain on Renault’s books, including F2 front-runner Guanyu Zhou and Formula 3 drivers Christian Lundgaard and Max Fewtrell.

Speaking in the Renault Sport Academy end-of-year round-up, programme director Mia Sharizman was pleased with his drivers’ achievements through the season, saying the focus was now on winning titles next year ahead of a possible F1 graduate for 2021.

“This season has been the ‘Year of the Rookies’ for the Academy, and, on a whole, I’m very proud of the achievements from Zhou, Anthoine, Christian, Max, Yifei [Ye], Victor [Martins], Caio [Collet] and Leonardo [Lorandi],” said Sharizman.

“Across FIA Formula 2, Formula 3 and Formula Renault Eurocup our drivers have performed and conducted themselves extremely well. In each of these series, an Academy driver has been ‘Top Rookie’.

“Zhou won this award in Formula 2, Christian in Formula 3 and Caio took the rookie title in the Eurocup. Max claimed two podiums in Formula 3 and Anthoine was the only rookie to have won two Formula 2 races and be classified in the top 10 in the championship.

“It’s clear winning championships as a rookie is becoming more difficult and it means we’re in a great position for our drivers to be competing for titles in 2020.

“The target has always been to have an Academy driver in a position to be in the Formula 1 race seat by 2021, so there’s a lot of hard work ahead. We’re confident this can be achieved.”