Rookie sensation Guan Yu Zhou has re-joined the UNI-Virtuosi Racing team as the Renault Formula 1 junior looks to build on a breakthrough 2019 FIA Formula 2 season.
Chinese driver Zhou scored a pole position, five podiums and took seventh place in the championship in his first year of the tricky F2 category, a championship geared towards readying drivers for Formula 1. Zhou was honoured for his 2019 performances at the post-season F2 prize giving.
As part of his tie-up with the Renault Sport Academy, Zhou also spent his 2019 programme assisting the Renault F1 team with simulator work and got his first test in an F1 car, the Renault R.S. 17.
Having secured the honour of top rookie in F2 in 2019, Zhou is hoping to build on his performances in 2020 now that his future is confirmed.
UNI-Virtuosi finished second in the F2 teams’ standings last year thanks to the strong relationship with Zhou, and the Norfolk-based squad has already announced the addition of Callum Ilott as one of its drivers for next season. The pairing started strongly together, helping the team to conduct important track-time as part of the F2 post-season test in Abu Dhabi last December.
Guan Yu Zhou
“To be signing again with UNI-Virtuosi Racing, it’s always been my first priority because last year in 2019 was the first year of working with the team, driving the F2 car for the first time, the Pirelli tyres. To be crowned the rookie champion was something really special for me. It shows a lot of potential in the team, and that we have been working really well together. First season as a rookie wasn’t easy, but the team helped me a lot on and off the track and back in the factory. We’ve been working hard and putting a lot of effort in. I can’t thank them enough for last season and for this season I’m just super excited to be getting started and to get back on the podium.
“I’m really happy to be continuing with the Renault F1 team and the Renault Sport Academy. I think the first year of us working together has been super positive, and from the Formula 2 side they helped me to give me more information about each track and the conditions. The RS 17 test and the F1 simulator development has all been really good so that’s why we have been putting a lot of trust in each other and I’m super happy with the partnership with them.”
Andy Roche – UNI-Virtuosi Racing team principal
“Guan Yu Zhou settled into the UNI-Virtuosi Racing instantly last year, right from pre-season testing we were delighted with his attitude and approach. The performance in the car spoke for itself, and of course we wanted to re-sign the strongest rookie on the grid in 2019. We’ve already seen a strong start to next season with the new combination of Guan Yu Zhou and our new signing Callum Ilott, and their brilliant work done in testing in Abu Dhabi last year. What we learned there will be crucial with the switch to 18-inch wheels this year. With our strong driver line-up, we’re expecting to fight right at the front once again in the 2020 season.”