The Renault Sport Academy was launched by Renault Sport Racing and Renault Sport Formula One Team in February 2016, tasked with continuing Renault’s rich heritage of developing young driver talent, with the aspiration of finding future Renault Sport Formula One World Champions.
The Renault Sport Academy harnesses Renault Sport Racing’s various platforms and global motorsport structures in its quest to nurture new talent, involving the local Renault markets in seeking new drivers from their regions.
For the second year of its existence, the Academy retains two drivers from the 2016 intake, Jack Aitken and Sun Yue Yang. They are joined by two new enrolees for 2017, Max Fewtrell and Jarno Opmeer.
All four drivers will be supported by Renault Sport Racing in their 2017 racing campaigns with Aitken continuing in the GP3 Series whilst the trio of Yue Yang, Fewtrell and Opmeer will contest the Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup.
The Renault Sport Academy is designed to nurture a driver within the Renault Sport Racing environment. An immersion programme in Paris educates the Academy members in Renault Sport Racing’s core values and heritage. A thorough fitness schedule includes evaluations at Renault Sport Formula One Team’s base at Enstone throughout the year in addition to pre-season and mid-season fitness camps. There is an internship at Enstone to understand how the Renault Sport Formula One Team operates. The programme is managed by Mia Sharizman who has extensive motorsport experience including Formula 1, GP2 and GP3.
Renault has an impressive record of finding the F1 stars of the future, with the likes of Robert Kubica, Lucas di Grassi, Pastor Maldonado, Heikki Kovalainen, Jérôme d’Ambrosio and Romain Grosjean being nurtured through previous Renault driver development programmes.
Alan Permane, Sporting Director, Renault Sport Formula One Team:
The Renault Sport Academy enables us to have a link to the exciting new talent which is being developed through the Renault Sport Racing structure. We will pay close attention to Jack, Max, Jarno and Sun over the course of their seasons, both on track and through their regular visits to Enstone. Their knowledge and experience of the inner workings of a Formula 1 team will grow enormously over the course of the year and they will be treated as part of the family.
As the RSA drivers get closer to Formula 1 in their training, we will see them in action in our F1 simulator and through our permitted private F1 car test programme. Both activities not only enable the drivers to gain new skills, they also enable our engineers to directly assess them in representative environments. The RSA drivers will also attend F1 test sessions and debriefing meetings as part of their preparations to be ready for all aspects of a Grand Prix weekend. The RSA is a valuable resource for us as a team with a long-term development path and also for the drivers for whom the potential rewards are enormous.