Formula 3 Champion Oscar Piastri has been rewarded by the Renault Driver Academy for his 2020 success with a first Formula 1 test, after the French team announced that the Australian driver will be unleashed in the R.S.18 at Bahrain later this month.
Piastri will run on the second day of a four-day test, which will also include stints in the car for Formula 2 drivers Christian Lundgaard and Guanyu Zhou. Renault say the test is aimed at preparing the trio for a potential “Formula 1 race seat in the future.”
Piastri, who is hoping to step up to F2 in 2020, 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.”
The 19-year-old won F3 at the first attempt this season, taking two wins and four further podiums, as he beat out fellow rookie Theo Pourchaire in a nail-biting season finale at Mugello, finishing just three points ahead of the ART Grand Prix driver.
Renault Academy Director Mia Sharizman added: “The tests in Bahrain are part of a planned programme that the Academy has delivered every year for the past three years. It’s a good opportunity for us to show the progression and level of achievement of the drivers in the Academy.
“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.”