Jan Charouz is Renault F1 Team reserve driver

"It will help me develop as a driver"

By Franck Drui

31 January 2010 - 23:21
Jan Charouz is Renault F1 Team (...)

Czech racing driver Jan Charouz enters his journey to Formula 1. Aged just 22, Jan Charouz is the Renault F1 Team Reserve Driver. Already he has established his reputation as a top-line sports car driver having won the Le Mans Series title last year with Aston Martin Racing. Prior to that he enjoyed success in single-seaters and was crowned F3000 International Masters Champion in 2006. Apart from the association with Renault F1 Team, Jan will compete in the World Series by Renault for 2010.

For the past three years, 22-year-old Charouz has focused his efforts on sportscar racing in the LMP1 class of the Le Mans Series and 24 Hours Le Mans, and finishing his university studies. After three years campaign he has been crowned the 2009 Le Mans Series champion and finished fourth in 24 Hours Le Mans with manufacturer Aston Martin Racing team. Although he was one of the youngest drivers in the LMP1 entry during his sportscar campaign (in 2007 24 Hours Le Mans he was the youngest one), Jan was always contracted as the manufacturer driver (Lola in 2007, Aston Martin in 2008, 2009). Despite his youth, he finished three editions of 24 Hours Le Mans in Top 10.

To make his step up to Formula 1 championship, become Jan Charouz’s next stage and challenge and also his dream. His journey to F1 should go – and it will – through participation in World Series by Renault, together with GP2 Series the best feeder to Formula 1. However, at the same time very interesting Renault’s offer occurred: Jan Charouz to be Renault F1 Team Reserve Driver.

Renault F1 Team announced a drivers pairing of Robert Kubica (POL) and Vitaly Petrov (RUS). Jan Charouz (CZE) and Ho-Pin Tung (CN) were announced as Renault F1 Team Reserve Drivers.

Jan Charouz as Renault F1 Team Reserve Driver will participate in Renault F1 Team test sessions. He could be recruited in Grand Prix Friday’s free practices in official colours of Renault F1 Team and also in the race. Jan Charouz will closely work with the team and also participate in their promotions.

Jan Charouz will combine Renault F1 Team Reserve Driver’s program with participation in 2010 World Series by Renault under the guise of British P1 Motorsport.

In his Renault F1 Team Reserve Driver’s program Jan Charouz will follow his earlier activities until 2006 season. Prior to entering sports car racing, the Czech driver also found success in single-seater racing, winning the 2006 F3000 International Masters series in overall and rookies classification and also helped his team to win teams rankings. Jan Charouz also represented Czech Republic in A1GP. In 2009 he took part in GP2 Series test sessions. He enjoyed success already in his career beginnings: In 2002, he became the youngest Czech Touring Car Championship winner in the series’ history.

Jan Charouz will be the third Czech reserve driver in Formula 1. The first one was Tomas Enge, who became Jordan Reserve Driver in 1999 and 2000. In 2001, he drove three Grand Prix (Grand Prix Italy, Grand Prix USA and Grand Prix Japan) with Prost Acer team. In 2003, Jarek Janis became F1 Jordan Ford Reserve Driver. All three drivers have been represented by their manager Antonin Charouz.

Jan Charouz

“The chance to be part of an F1 driver programme is a dream for any young driver so it’s a great honour to be given this opportunity. It will help me develop as a driver and give me a good understanding of how a Formula One team operates. To be involved with a manufacturer like Renault is so valuable and I will do everything in my power to repay the faith they have shown in me.

My plan for 2010 season is to race in the World Series by Renault. That’s something I’m really looking forward to as the cars look really fun to drive and the Series visits some great circuits this year, like Spa and Silverstone, and there’s even a race at my home track in Brno [Czech Republic]. After a few years racing sports cars, I’m looking forward to getting back in a single-seater once again.

I am excited by the chance to work closely with Robert Kubica. I have last met him in Italian go-kart races about 10 years ago. He is a great role model who has already achieved a lot in his career so I hope to learn a lot from him. But I’m also excited by the opportunity to attend the engineers’ meetings and debriefs to see how the team works from the inside. I am also looking forward to work with Vitalij Petrov, who I already know from time, when he drove under the guise of Charouz Racing System. I also know Ho Pin Tung very well, because we were racing against each other in A1GP. It will be a completely new environment for me and I can’t wait to experience it.”

Antonin Charouz, Jan Charouz’s manager

“I have to admit, that at this point I did not believe in such an opportunity. The offer for cooperation came from Renault, not from us. I am delighted that Jan has received so interesting offer. From now on, it will be up to him to grapple with this challenge. It will not
be easy for him. In past three seasons he drove LMP1 prototypes, so maybe he could lack some single-seater driving experience. However, three years ago he decided to study university, therefore he could not devote all his time to racing. Maybe he returns to single-seaters in the very last minute, but I think he still has a chance to achieve good results. It will be only up to him, how he will tackle with this challenge. He has to focus all his efforts on the only one aim. He has to be concentrated only on Formula 1 – this is the only chance how to achieve good results. Well, if he did not do that, he could not achieve them, and we would have to leave this way.”

Tomas Enge, the first Czech Formula 1 driver

“It is great, that Czech Republic will have another one driver in Formula 1. I suppose, the motorsport will be a crowd-pleaser in Czech Republic. Participation in Formula 1 will be good experience for Jan, because F1 world is something different than environment in any other motorsport discipline. I wish Jan a good luck.”

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