Renault have appointed former Williams driver Sergey Sirotkin as their Formula 1 reserve, with the Russian also scheduled to compete in the World Endurance Championship with SMP Racing.
The 23-year-old Russian lost his seat at struggling Williams at the end of last season after a difficult rookie campaign in which he scored just one point from 21 races.
Jack Aitken, who was reserve last year and races in Formula Two, will continue in the role of official test driver with 19-year-old Chinese Zhou Guanyu already recruited as development driver.
Sirotkin was Renault test driver in 2016 and reserve in 2017.
“It will be interesting to learn how far Renault has advanced in the development of the car over the past year; last season we were rivals and I could not see the work from the inside,” said the Russian in a statement on Wednesday.
Renault’s race lineup is Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Hulkenberg. The Formula One season starts in Melbourne on March 17.
Renault F1 Team is pleased to confirm its full driver line-up for the 2019 FIA Formula 1 World Championship.
Nico Hülkenberg and Daniel Ricciardo will be joined by Sergey Sirotkin as Third & Reserve Driver, with Jack Aitken as Test Driver. The quartet will be complemented by Development Driver Guanyu Zhou.
In Sergey, Renault gains an experienced driver who is well accustomed to modern Formula 1 machinery. After spells as Renault Test Driver in 2016 and Third & Reserve Driver in 2017, Sergey graduated to a full-time F1 race seat in 2018 with Williams. Sergey will dovetail his F1 commitments this year with a programme in the FIA World Endurance Championship with SMP Racing.
Jack graduated from the Renault Sport Academy in 2019 after a three-year tenure, during which time he competed in the GP3 Series and FIA Formula 2 Championship. Jack took one race win last year as a rookie in the Formula 1 support series, to which he will be returning this year with the Campos Racing team as part of his development programme.
Sergey and Jack will share F1 support duties to allow them to fulfil their racing commitments outside F1, while also conducting crucial simulator and development work at the team’s technical centre in Enstone, UK.
Cyril Abiteboul, Renault Sport Racing Managing Director: “We’re very happy to reveal our full 2019 driver line-up. It’s a very strong and experienced team of drivers. Nico and Daniel are an exciting combination and will be strongly supported by Sergey, Jack and Guanyu. In Sergey’s return, we have a driver who has experienced a full season racing in Formula 1 and that knowledge will be beneficial to developing our package. Jack has also impressed us when testing our Formula 1 machinery, while Guanyu will complement the experienced team. All of them have an important role to play this season and we look forward seeing them all in action.”
Sergey Sirotkin, Third & Reserve Driver: “I am very pleased to rejoin my friends at Renault F1 Team and return to Formula 1. We are well acquainted with the team, I spent the whole of 2017 in their factory and in the garage. It will be interesting to learn how far Renault has advanced in the development of the car over the past year; last season we were rivals and I could not see the work from the inside. I am pleased to join the team as Third & Reserve Driver and work alongside Nico Hülkenberg and Daniel Ricciardo.”
Jack Aitken, Test Driver: “It’s a great feeling to continue with Renault F1 Team and I’m grateful for this opportunity. I’ve been part of the team since 2016, so to remain for a fourth season is a privilege and I’m determined to repay Renault’s faith in me. I drove the Formula 1 car a couple of times last year and I can’t wait to sample the Renault R.S.19 this season in the rookie tests and give my best to develop the package in any way I can. Last year was a lot about learning, but I feel ready this season to do the job and get the results I’m aiming for as I continue my development pathway within Renault.”