Formula 2 championship leader Guanyu Zhou will make his first appearance in an official Formula 1 practice session at this weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix.Red Bull Ring, in place of Fernando Alonso. He has previously driven for the team in public and private F1 tests.
Zhou, 22, is in his third season of competing in F2 and has scored two victories for his Virtuosi team over the opening nine rounds. He also won the Asian F3 championship earlier this year.
He will be the second Chinese driver in the sport’s history to participate in an official race weekend. Ma Qinghua previously appeared in five practice sessions for HRT and Caterham in 2012 and 2013.
Zhou said the news was “like a dream coming true and another step closer to my ultimate goal of becoming a Formula 1 driver.”
“There have not been many Chinese drivers in Formula 1, so to be behind the wheel of an F1 car during a race weekend is going to be a very proud feeling,” he added.
“It’s going to be even more special that I’m driving Fernando’s car as he inspired me to pursue a career in racing when I was young. I’m very happy with my achievements so far and I’m very thankful for the support I have from those around me.”
Alpine’s chief executive officer Laurent Rossi said the test is “a logical and important step for one of the Academy’s brightest stars.
“This experience will greatly help him as he makes very solid progress towards the ultimate target that constitutes a full-time F1 seat.”
“The challenge for young drivers to get into F1 is incredibly hard, and we are proud to support upcoming talent on this road,” Rossi added.
Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and
2021 F1 season
- Title ‘stolen’ from Mercedes made us ‘underdogs people cheer for’ – Wolff
- Red Bull Racing spent £230m during Verstappen’s title-winning 2021 campaign
- ‘I can’t box?’: Hamilton and Verstappen’s 2021 Abu Dhabi GP radio transcript
- Abu Dhabi’s legacy one year on: How the controversial 2021 finale changed F1
- The case for changing F1’s penalty points system as Gasly nears ban