Hungarian Grand Prix – Renault have announced Artem Markelov will join Nico Hulkenberg for the final in-season test of the year at the Hungaroring next week.
Markelov will participate in his first ever Formula One test session, having taken part in a private test at the Paul Ricard circuit earlier this month.
Renault recently admitted that they are having to evaluate other options for the seat alongside Nico Hulkenberg for 2019. While their first preference is to keep Carlos Sainz onboard after a strong year for the Spaniard, his deal with Renault is only for a solitary year on loan from the Red Bull camp.
With Max Verstappen signed and a Daniel Ricciardo commitment announcement seemingly imminent, it looks as though Sainz may be called back by Red Bull to race for Toro Rosso again. There is an unconfirmed suggestion that, if Red Bull look for Sainz back, it has to be in a race seat with Red Bull Racing. If this is the case, then Sainz might be able to be released from his Red Bull contract and continue with Renault.
However, there are other strong contenders for the seat, including Esteban Ocon. The French driver, although Mercedes affiliated, has acted as a reserve and test driver for Renault before and is believed to be very close to a deal with the French marque.
Renault are still keeping their options open, and have announced Artem Markelov will drive for them next week in Budapest. There is a two day in-season test at the Hungaroring, with Nico Hulkenberg scheduled for the first day before handing over to Markelov for the second day.
The 23 year old Russian, currently racing in F2 with Russian Time, finished second in F2 last year and is Renault’s development driver in 2018.