In search of a Chinese F1 driver

China is keen to have its first Formula 1 driver, and western car companies are keen to get a Chinese star who will help them promote their cars, so it is no great surprise that Renault has signed up 15-year-old Sun Yue Yang to be a member of the Renault Sport Academy. Sun joins Oliver Rowland, Jack Aitken, Kevin Jorg and Louis Deletraz in the organisation. He has been racing in European karting – the best place to start – and has scored some promising results in the KFJ category, where many of the best young drivers start out.  Logically, with its huge population China ought to be able to find a driver ho has the skills necessary to be in F1, but the problem lies in finding the potential stars and then developing them in the right way. Japan has been looking for a top F1 driver for more than 35 years and has still to find one, while other Asians have also failed to break through. Natural ability is just a part of the problem, but racing in Europe is the right place for Sun to be and so he has more potential for success than those who stay in China, where the level of competition is not the same. Ferrari is equally keen to find a Chinese star and has Guan Yu Zhou in its Driver Academy. The first Chinese driver to take part in a Grand Prix weekend was Ma Qing Hua  in 2012, but he was not able to break through to a permanent drive and has raced in the World Touring Car Championship of late, driving for the Citroen factory team.