FIA Formula 3 champion Oscar Piastri will get his first taste of Formula 1 machinery later this month with Renault putting on a test for three of its Academy members in Bahrain.

Piastri will drive Renault’s 2018-spec RS18 at the Bahrain International Circuit on 30 October, the second day of a four-day test, as reward for winning the F3 title at the first attempt in his rookie campaign with Prema.

The programme will be kicked off by Formula 2 race-winner Christian Lundgaard, who currently sits fourth in the championship standings, on 29 October, before Guanyu Zhou rounds off the test by completing the final two days of running on November 1-2.

Renault says the upcoming test highlights the French manufacturer’s continued commitment to its Academy as it “readies its junior drivers for a F1 race seat in the future”.

Zhou is aiming to become China’s first-ever F1 driver and lies eighth in the 2020 standings, having claimed one victory and five podiums this year.

The 20-year-old has already tested for Renault this year in Hungary, and has previously tested at the Red Bull Ring, Barcelona, Budapest, Paul Ricard and Jerez, while Lundgaard completed his first F1 run in 2019 at Hungary, driving the team’s 2017 car.

The test will prove beneficial for both Zhou and Lundgaard, who will both get some track time at the circuit which will host the final two rounds of the F2 championship in late November.

While Piastri’s test will be centred around him getting up to speed with F1 machinery, Lundgaard and Zhou’s outing’s will be based around an actual F1 weekend and consist of practice, qualifying and race simulations.

“The tests in Bahrain are part of a planned programme that the Academy has delivered every year for the past three years,” Renault Sport Academy Director Mia Sharizman, said. “It’s a good opportunity for us to show the progression and level of achievement of the drivers in the Academy.

“Christian and Zhou will be in the R.S.18 for a second time, whilst Oscar will be experiencing his first time in a Formula 1 car as a reward for winning the FIA Formula 3 title plus it is part of his continued progression in the Academy.

“The plan for the testing days often varies depending on experience, so Oscar’s day will be about getting him up to speed and familiar with the car.

“For Zhou and Christian, their days will be shaped like an actual race weekend, with practice, qualifying and race simulations.

“Bahrain is a very good test location for us, and beneficial for both Zhou and Christian who will race here later in November for the final two rounds of the FIA Formula 2 Championship."

Speaking about his upcoming F1 test debut, Piastri said: “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 Formula 1 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.”

 

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