Renault F1 Team Development Driver and rising Chinese racing star Guanyu Zhou will thrill Chinese fans with a live F1® demonstration run on the streets of Shanghai on Saturday 13 April. It will be the first time a Chinese citizen will have driven an F1 car on the roads of Shanghai. Nineteen-year-old Guanyu, who hails from Shanghai, will power the Renault-powered E20 through the Xintiandi Fashion district of his hometown as the centrepiece of the Heineken F1 Shanghai Festival.
This weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix will be the 1,000th Formula 1 Grand Prix™ in the history of the sport, but ever-keen to push new boundaries, Formula 1 and Renault F1 Team have teamed up to take F1 beyond the race track to the heart of one of the world’s largest and economically important cities. The Xintiandi district will feature a replica paddock, F1 merchandise stalls and live screenings of the race action, along with bespoke entertainment platforms for celebrity DJs and music acts. Guanyu’s live demo at the wheel of the Renault F1 Team E20 will be the highlight as Shanghai residents will hear and feel the passion of the sport for themselves.
Guanyu Zhou is Renault F1 Team’s Development Driver, conducting simulator duties to support the team and its race drivers, Nico Hülkenberg and Daniel Ricciardo. The role made him the first driver from the People’s Republic of China to occupy a Formula 1 role with a manufacturer team in recent years. He is also a member of the Renault Sport Academy, which provides comprehensive support to a select number of young drivers each year as they aim to reach the summit of motorsport, F1. In addition to his RSA duties, Guanyu competes in the FIA Formula 2 Championship with UNI-Virtuosi Racing.
Guanyu Zhou commented, “I’m very excited to drive the Renault F1 Team E20 Formula 1 car in Shanghai, my hometown. It’s really an amazing opportunity for me. The city centre, which is already a busy place, will be blocked off for this demonstration run and that will be an incredible sight. To be part of that is going to be really special. The 2004 Chinese Grand Prix was actually the first race I watched and I was also there when Renault won its first world title the next year, so to drive a Renault-powered Formula 1 car in Shanghai will be really cool!”
Cyril Abiteboul, managing director of Renault Sport Racing, added: “Formula 1’s Fan Festival programme is a very strong initiative to take the sport to a new and broader audience. We have already visited some of the world’s iconic cities – London, Marseille, Miami to name just a few – and to see cars running on the streets of downtown Shanghai, one of the world’s largest and most economically important locations, is a real bonus for the sport. Motorsport is growing in China and we are there at the forefront, not only through initiatives such as this, but also on a more tangible basis with support of one of the most promising Chinese motorsport stars, Guanyu Zhou, through the Renault Sport Academy.”
Alexandre Molina, Director of events, F1, said: “Following the huge success last season, we are thrilled to have Renault back on board to take part in the Heineken F1 Shanghai Festival. We are breaking grounds here as for the first time ever fans will be able to immerse themselves in the world of F1, as they watch the cars race in China through the streets of Shanghai. We believe it’s crucial to take F1 into the cities, so that we can put fans at the heart of the action, and we are so pleased that Renault and Guanyu Zhou will be part of this for this historic moment."