Renault Sport Racing confirms upcoming Chinese driver Ye Yifei as the latest Renault Sport Academy recruit. The announcement was confirmed at the Shanghai International Circuit in a media and VIP event on the eve of the Chinese Grand Prix weekend.
The 18-year-old, who hails from Xian, China, has proved himself to be one of the most promising stars of the junior categories. Yifei started karting aged ten, taking two national titles. Aged just 14, he made the move to Europe and single-seaters. In 2016 Yifei became the first Chinese driver to win an international title when he conquered the French F4 championship with 14 wins, 17 fastest laps and 10 pole positions.
More records followed in 2017 with a move to the Formula Renault Eurocup championship and Formula Renault NEC. In 2018 Yifei finished third in the Eurocup, taking two wins, 10 podiums, one pole position and three fastest laps.
Yifei will join compatriot Guanyu Zhou in the Renault Sport Academy. This further demonstrates that Renault believes in the future of motorsport in China and is determined to scout, support and train promising Chinese talents to reach Formula 1, a dream nurtured by 1.4 billion Chinese people.
The 2019 Renault Sport Academy intake also includes Frenchmen Anthoine Hubert and Victor Martins, Danish racer Christian Lundgaard, Brit Max Fewtrell and Brazilian Caio Collet.
In 2019 Yifei will race for Hi-tech GP in the FIA Formula 3 Championship.
Cyril Abiteboul, managing director of Renault Sport Racing, commented:
We have been watching Ye Yifei for some time. He has impressed us with his results in all categories, plus his ability to integrate into any racing or cultural environment. For us, his future is promising and we are looking forward to guiding the next stages of his career as he continues his progress through the ranks. We are also pleased to be able to further promote Chinese interests in motorsport along with our partner Renault China and DRAC.
Ye Yifei added:
It’s a real honour to join the Renault Sport Academy. Over the years I have seen its members go on to achieve great things in racing. It gives incredible support in all areas; physical training, working with world-class engineers, media experience and career guidance. Of course I also know the importance and privilege of working with a global brand such as Renault and I am looking forward to honouring their reputation with some strong results this year and in the future. I will be working hard to reach Formula 1 with Renault F1 Team one day.
Zhou Guanyu and Ye Yifei are recognized as the top two Chinese young drivers. With strategic vision, we have successfully invited both of them to join Renault Sport Academy, allowing them to make one step further towards F1 tracks. I hope Renault can eventually help Chinese people to achieve their F1 racing dream. Their joining will help to create a young and vibrant brand image of Renault in the China market,” said Francois Provost, Chairman of China Region, SVP, Groupe Renault. “This is a new proof to our strategy of “In China, For China.”
About the Renault Sport Academy
The Renault Sport Academy (RSA) enters its fourth year and second phase of development in 2019, on the back of a very promising campaign last season. Launched in 2016, the RSA aims to find and nurture young racing driver talent and progress such prospects through the junior racing ranks all the way to Formula 1. Renault’s goal is clear: for an RSA driver to be in Formula 1 and become world champion with the team.
Drivers are selected for the Academy based on their talent and potential shown in karting and junior championships. Renault is able to draw upon its global markets and racing acumen to scout standout, young racers. For 2019, the Academy will draw benefits from the development of the Formula 1 team, further strengthening the ties between both programmes.
Three familiar faces remain with the Academy in 2019 as Max Fewtrell, the Formula Renault Eurocup champion in 2018, Christian Lundgaard, runner-up to Max, and Victor Martins are retained from last season. GP3 Series champion Anthoine Hubert steps up his role from Affiliated Driver in 2018 to Academy Driver for 2019. New recruits for 2019 are Chinese European Formula 3 veteran Guanyu Zhou and Brazilian French Formula 4 champion Caio Collet, plus Ye Yifei.
Anthoine (Arden) and Guanyu (UNI-Virtuosi) will go head-to-head in the FIA Formula 2 Championship this year. Max and Christian (both ART Grand Prix) will race in the new FIA Formula 3 Championship with Victor (MP Motorsport) and Caio (R-ace GP) going wheel-to-wheel in the Formula Renault Eurocup.