After a stunning career in karts crowned with a national title in KFJ and the Andrea Margutti Trophy in OK, Smolyar made a brilliant transition to the next level. He finished third in the SMP F4 NEZ Championship racking up three pole positions, 11 podiums and three fastest laps.
In parallel, he was in the thick of the battle for the title in the Spanish F4 Championship. Despite eight victories – more than anyone else – and 15 podiums including 12 on the bounce, he had to make do with the runner-up spot.
But the Russian was already preparing for the next step and was invited to the Barcelona rookie tests where he set the day’s third-fastest time. He continued to impress during the winter and he will try to continue in the same vein with the Toulouse outfit in 2018.
“I'm very happy to be part of such a professional team!” he smiled. “I can’t wait for the season to begin and to be at Circuit Paul Ricard for my maiden race in Formula Renault with Tech 1 Racing. It’s always exciting to have a new challenge, discover a new car, new tracks and new people.
“For my first time in the Formula Renault car I was quite happy with our performance. The winter tests confirmed that we were on the right track as we were among the front-runners on many circuits; it gave me confidence even though I know it was only testing and that the real challenge starts in April. In any case, communications with the team and my team-mates are excellent. We’ve all hit it off really well and things are particularly good between me and my engineer, Adrien. My relationship with my engineer is something that’s very important for me, and I’m sure it’s only going to get stronger as the season unfolds.
“It’s a little bit tough to speak about targets right now, but I can say that I’m not going there just to make up the numbers in the top 10,” he summed up. “I’m very grateful for SMP Racing and KMP Group’s trust and support, and I’m sure that with dedication and hard work, we can succeed this year!”
“It’s a real pleasure to welcome Alexander,” says Simon Abadie, the Tech 1 Racing team manager. “He will be our new kid on the block in Formula Renault! Despite his short experience in single-seaters, he showed that he was very quick in each of the winter test sessions. I think he’s going to give many of the drivers back for the second year a hard time! By targeting the rookie title, I reckon we’ve set him a goal that’s well within his reach.”
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