Anglo-Korean driver Jack Aitken, a member of the Renault Sport Academy, has been confirmed as a Formula 2 driver for ART Grand Prix: the same squad with which he finished second in last year’s GP3 Series, claiming a race win and two pole positions.
The announcement took place at the Renault Sport Formula One Team headquarters at Enstone, Oxfordshire, with the 22-year-old in attendance as the senior member of the seven-strong Renault Sport Academy squad.
“To be here for the third year with Renault is amazing,” said Jack, who also had his first taste of a Renault Sport Formula 1 car last year. “It’s a massive endorsement that is full of opportunities and the best thing that any young driver could wish for. My plan is obviously to get to Formula 1, and Formula 2 is the final step towards that goal.”
Like GP3, Formula 2 races on grand prix circuits during Formula 1 weekends. However, the latest Formula 2 cars, which will be brand new for this year, represent a considerable step up in power: putting out approximately 620 horsepower from a turbocharged engine in a car that weighs only 720 kilograms.
“I’ve already driven the previous-specification Formula 2 car in Abu Dhabi last year, and I had a very good feeling with it straight away,” said Jack, who is based in London. “It didn’t take long for me to adapt, and it suited my driving style. The new car should be better still, so I can’t wait to try it. Having the consistency of the championship-winning ART Grand Prix team behind me – a very talented group of individuals who I know well – will definitely help too, so my aim is to be fighting at the front for wins.”
The ART Grand Prix team is headed up by team principal Sebastien Philippe. The Frenchman said: “Together we had a great season in GP3 and I could see how good Jack was both on the track and on the human side. It was obvious that we wanted him in our Formula 2 team and the test we did in Abu Dhabi underlines our choice. Together I think we can have a very good season, and why not fighting for the championship?”
Renault Sport Academy director Mia Sharizman explained the reasons behind the renewal of Jack’s programme. “We have a five-year programme to bring drivers from the grass roots of international single-seater racing to Formula 1,” he said. “After being with Jack for the last two years, we have seen the levels of his capabilities rise, and we believe that they can go even higher. The other obvious reason to renew our agreement was Jack’s input into the Formula 1 simulator programme, which has been very useful for the team, and which everyone would like to continue.”
With Jack’s first Formula 2 test in the new car scheduled for February, he is already working towards his season by leaving for Doha, Qatar, this evening to start a 10-day long training camp with the Renault Sport Academy.