Renault has announced that karting talents Marta Garcia and Christian Lundgaard have joined its young driver academy ahead of the 2017 season.
Renault re-established its junior program after returning to F1 with a works operation in 2016, having previously aided the careers of Robert Kubica, Heikki Kovalainen and Romain Grosjean.
Garcia, 16, raced in karts last year, but will step up to Spanish Formula 4 with Renault backing in 2017, and is the sole female member of its current driver program.
“It’s a great opportunity and honor to join the Renault Sport Academy. I’m looking forward to working with the team throughout the season,” Garcia said.
“Being in such a professional environment will undoubtedly be key to my development and progress going forward and I know the coaching and assistance will help me prepare for my season ahead in Spanish Formula 4.”
Lundgaard, 15, is a former winner of the CIK-FIA KFJ European karting title, and will race in the SMP F4 NEZ Championship in 2017.
“First, I’d like to thank Renault and the Renault Sport Academy for this opportunity. It feels great already to be part of the program,” Lundgaard said.
“This year is key for me as it will be my first season in single-seaters after karting. The Renault Sport Academy will help me prepare physically and mentally for this new challenge ahead and it feels fantastic to have such support from the team involved.”
Garcia and Lundgaard join Jack Aitken, Max Fewtrell, Jarno Opmeer and Sun Yue Yang on Renault’s junior program, and were welcomed aboard by Renault Sport managing director Cyril Abiteboul.
“We are happy to welcome Marta and Christian to the Renault Sport Academy for 2017. In combination with Jack, Max, Jarno and Sun we have a very exciting line-up of young drivers, highlighting that our focus is very much on the future,” Abiteboul said.
“Marta and Christian are amongst the most exciting talents emerging from the karting scene. Like their fellow Academy members, their selection and their retention is based on their outstanding results and potential.
“Renault Sport Racing is committed to growing its own talent and we will monitor the progress of Marta and Christian with great anticipation.”