Leonardo Lorandi has been announced as the Affiliated Driver for Renault Sport Academy for 2019: the Enstone team embraced the Academy to
find and nurture young racing driver talent and progress such prospects through the junior racing ranks all the way to Formula 1.
The 18-year old (younger brother of Alessio) is just the last name on the lists of Development, Reserve, Third, Test or Simulator Drivers: to be “affiliated” like the Scientology members.
No, the parallelism doesn’t sound so extrovert: for every admission in sects there’s something to do (or to pay) to get in, among the other fellows. What’s different with the “fees” everyone knows a youngster coming from F3 or F4 must pay for a seat … at the simulator? Because, said Esteban Ocon to Motorsport.com,
When you're not racing you don't earn anything
Let’s go in order.
Teams have a huge chance for making extra revenues for let breath their budgets: drivers from developing countries can easily drop in the CEOs big amounts of money of their families or sponsors; without the help of Gelael sr., Antonio Giovinazzi would probably be anywhere but in Formula 1.
5 talking points from the Canadian Grand Prix
Toto Wolff exit ahead of Spanish GP proved that academies have probably failed their mission. Even red Bull basin has been severely degenerated over the last seasons, when picking up drivers coming from other environments didn’t shocked the paddock.
Talented drivers like the poor Jules Bianchi or Ocon are obliged to be part of the game if they want to continue the chase of their dreams: both Frenchs showed extensively their skills with midfield or bottom cars; but they didn’t get the chance to step up on their manufacturer. So, it is with no surprise that we heard a big thank to Wolff from Esteban: a driver thanking a manger for, no less no more, the opportunity to be available to race:
I hope that those two years were enough to prove I deserve a seat for 2020. I'm lucky, that's a positive to have the massive support from Mercedes. Even in difficult times they remember my potential and what I've done. That's different to other junior programmes in F1. Mercedes remember, they don't leave you alone, they keep supporting you and believe in your potential. When they take you it's for a long time. That's the positive I see at the moment.
On the other hand, he was its former teammate at Force India, Sergio “Checo” Perez, who mourned at the danger behind a forced sabbatical year:
It definitely can hurt him more than it can benefit him. Formula 1 is evolving so much year by year. You never know what the future will hold. He is in a great position with Mercedes. He definitely deserves a seat in Formula 1, he is one of the best drivers in this sport. But I think a year out of this can change so much. Maybe he comes back and drives for Mercedes, but you never know what the future will hold. So, it is a risky move.
The horizon couldn’t be more greyish for pool of new drivers: less manufacturers on the grid, almost no one Gelael Sr. wanting to afford huge investments and an even huge competition among these young kids from karting on. Probably not for dreaming to become the next Hamilton, but to set aside the next Sirotkin in the pits with radio headphones.