Guanyu Zhou to become first Chinese F1 driver after signing with Alfa Romeo for 2022

By Sports Desk November 16, 2021

Guanyu Zhou is to become the first ever Chinese Formula One driver after signing with Alfa Romeo for the 2022 season.

The 22-year-old will join Valtteri Bottas as a new pairing, with the Finnish driver set to leave Mercedes to replace the retiring Kimi Raikkonen.

Zhou is currently second in the F2 championship with three wins this season and two rounds still to go next month. He will replace Antonio Giovinazzi at Alfa.

He was part of the Ferrari driver academy between 2014 and 2018, before joining Renault in 2019 as a test driver. 

Zhou will reportedly bring with him a sizeable financial package to Alfa Romeo.

"The financial side can't be hidden," team principal Frederic Vasseur said to BBC Sport, while also pointing to the success that his new driver has had in F2, with victories in Bahrain and Silverstone this year.

"I don't know if in the end he will be a champion or not in F2. But this won't change the potential that he is a frontrunner against some other very experienced guys.

"He also has the advantage that he was able to do some test days this season in F1, so he is not with zero mileage."

Zhou expressed his excitement about joining the team, telling the Alfa Romeo Racing website: "I dreamt from a young age of climbing as high as I can in a sport that I am passionate about and now the dream has come true.

"It is a privilege for me to start my Formula 1 racing career with an iconic team, a team that has introduced so much young talent into Formula 1 in the past. Now the dream is reality. I feel well-prepared for the immense challenge of Formula 1, the pinnacle of my sport, alongside a proven, world-class talent in Valtteri Bottas. 

"Next year the target will be to learn as much as possible and as quickly as possible."

On becoming the first F1 driver from China, Zhou added: "To be the first ever Chinese driver in Formula 1 is a breakthrough for Chinese motorsport history. I know a lot of hopes will be resting on me and, as ever, I will take this as motivation to become better and achieve more."

Related items

  • F1 announces new seven-year Singapore Grand Prix deal F1 announces new seven-year Singapore Grand Prix deal

    The Singapore Grand Prix will be on the Formula One calendar until at least 2028 after a seven-year contract extension to stage the race was agreed.

    There was no racing at the Marina Bay Street Circuit in the past two seasons due to the coronavirus pandemic, but the 2022 race is set to go ahead on October 2.

    F1 on Thursday announced that a deal has been agreed with Singapore GP Pte Ltd (SGP) and the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) for the event to remain on the calendar for at least another seven seasons.

    "I am delighted that Formula One will continue to race in Singapore for another seven years," said F1 president and CEO Stefano Domenicali.

    "The Marina Bay Street Circuit hosted the first night race in F1 history in 2008, and Singapore has continued to thrill fans, teams, and drivers ever since. Singapore holds a special place on the F1 calendar, and this extension is part of our long-term commitment to continue to grow the sport in Asia.

    "The plans that are in place to reduce the carbon footprint of the event are impressive and align with our plans to be Net Zero Carbon as a sport by 2030 and I look forward to continuing our successful relationship with Singapore GP and the Singapore Tourism Board as Formula One returns to this incredible city."

    Singapore GP's chairman Mr Ong Beng Seng said: "We are very pleased that the night race will continue for seven more years.

    "After more than a decade of celebrating this spectacular event on the racing calendar, we are looking forward to building on its success and working with Formula One as well as its partners to take the night race to greater heights. We are delighted that this marquee event will demonstrate how Singapore is open for business.

    "We look forward to welcoming both local and overseas fans and visitors to the Marina Bay Street Circuit once again."

  • F1 regulations will mean 'terribly painful year' for some cars, say Mercedes F1 regulations will mean 'terribly painful year' for some cars, say Mercedes

    Mercedes hope they will be prepared for the 2022 Formula One season, in which technical director James Allison is forecasting "a terribly painful year" for teams who get their car "really badly wrong". 

    F1 is belatedly introducing its game-changing new regulations in the coming year, shaking up the sport after an epic 2021 season. 

    The 2022 car has been designed with the aim to end the dominance of any one team and ensure closer racing. 

    Mercedes, whose Lewis Hamilton was agonisingly pipped to the title by Max Verstappen in the previous campaign, will expect to again be at the forefront of a title tussle, but Allison recognises some outfits will be caught unaware. 

    The price for making mistakes this year is a significant one, he believes. 

    "Everyone in our team, and everyone in every other team, will have done our level best to try to find a design and an approach that will be a happy match to this new regulation set," Allison said in a video posted by Mercedes. 

    "And we'll all get to find out together at the start of this season, in the races that unfold from there, exactly how that shakes out. 

    "I would imagine, given that the cars are so new and so different, that one or two cars on the grid will have got it really badly wrong. And they will have a terribly painful year. 

    "I would imagine that all of us to some degree will have left things on the table that we just didn't anticipate. And we will look at other cars and think, 'Oh, why didn't we think of that?' 

    "Then we'll be scrambling around to try to get that idea onto our car as fast as possible, so that we can claw our way, from whatever position we land in that first race, forwards. Or, if we're lucky enough to be in front, to keep the attacking wolves behind us. 

    "It's going to be quite a rush and definitely something that's going to keep us all from having too much sleep for the whole of the season." 

    George Russell is joining Hamilton at Mercedes this year, replacing Valtteri Bottas after impressing with Williams. 

  • FIA begins 'analysis' of controversial Abu Dhabi Grand Prix ending FIA begins 'analysis' of controversial Abu Dhabi Grand Prix ending

    A "detailed analysis" of the controversial ending to last month's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix has started, the Federation Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) has confirmed.

    Seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton was denied a record-breaking eighth title when he was beaten by Red Bull's Max Verstappen on the final lap of the season-ending grand prix on December 12.

    Mercedes were furious with how race rules were applied in a safety-car situation and challenged the result, believing Hamilton was unfairly prevented from winning the race and the championship when Verstappen passed him with only a few corners remaining.

    The German constructors launched two challenges that were both rejected by the FIA, with Mercedes giving notice of an intention to appeal. However, the team eventually decide not to proceed down that route following discussions with F1 and the FIA.

    On Thursday, the FIA released a statement via Twitter outlining the next steps in their analysis of the situation, saying: "Following the decision of the World Motor Sport Council in Paris on 15 December 2021, the FIA administration, under the leadership Mohammed Ben Sulayem, has started the detailed analysis of the events of the last Formula 1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

    "The FIA President launched a consultation with all F1 teams on various issues, including this one.

    "On January 19, an item on the agenda of the Sporting Advisory Committee will be dedicated to the use of the Safety Car. The following stage will be a shared discussion with all F1 drivers.

    "The outcome of the detailed analysis will be presented to the F1 Commission in February and final decisions will be announced at the World Motor Sport Council in Bahrain on 18 March."

    There has been recent speculation since the end of the season that Hamilton could retire from motor racing, with the 36-year-old and his team left distraught by the outcome, and reports suggest that the Briton is waiting to see the outcome of an inquiry.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.