Guanyu Zhou, Alfa Romeo, Circuit de Catalunya, 2022

Zhou – ‘More pressure on me in F2 last year than F1’

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In the round-up: Guanyu Zhou says he feels he is under less pressure preparing for his debut F1 season than he was under at the end of his final year in F2

In brief

More pressure on me in F2 than F1 – Zhou

Guanyu Zhou feels he is under less pressure preparing for his debut F1 season than he was under at the end of his final year in F2.

Zhou will become F1’s first Chinese driver when he makes his debut in this month’s Bahrain Grand Prix.

“To be the only rookie on the 2022 Formula 1 grid, I think there’s, of course, a little bit of pressure, but it doesn’t really get to me because I feel [there was] more pressure last season,” Zhou says.

“I had too many people watching me, having their eye on me, the end of my Formula 2 campaign. So that was a lot of pressure, but I think I dealt with that pretty well.”

Zhou says his aim for his debut year is to score regular points and aim to reach Q3 at every race weekend.

“I hope to achieve as many points as possible and try to always fight for the points, always [reach] Q3 for the team – I think that’s always the goal for the team.”

Williams operate in “very similar” manner to Red Bull – Albon

Alexander Albon, Williams, Circuit de Catalunya, 2022
Albon joined Williams after Red Bull reserve role
Alexander Albon says his new Williams team are operationally “very similar” to Red Bull, despite the difference in resources and recent championship performances between both teams.

Albon has moved to Williams to begin his third season as a race driver in Formula 1 after a year as Red Bull reserve driver following his replacement by Sergio Perez in the team.

Asked by RaceFans to compare how the two teams differed, Albon said that Williams operate “pretty similar” to his previous team.

“That’s not a bad thing at all,” said Albon. “The structures internally are slightly different in terms of how many people are working in what area of the team and things like that. How they designate jobs when at the track and things like that. But no, obviously they’re working in a very similar way. If there was something that stood out I would tell you, but there honestly isn’t.

IndyCar racer Ongais dies

Former IndyCar racer Danny Ongais has died at the age of 79. Having racied motorbikes in his native Hawaii in the sixties, Ongais enjoyed success as a drag racer, before moving into Formula 5000 and Indy racing.

He made 11 starts in the Indianapolis 500, but was badly injured in a crash during the 1981 race. Six years later another crash ruled him out of the race: His place went to Al Unser, who won. In 1996 Ongais took the place of Scott Brayton when the race’s pole-winner was killed in a crash during practice. Starting from the back, Ongais took seventh for Menard.

Powell eyeing first W Series title at third attempt

Alice Powell says wants to challenge for the W Series championship this season after finishing third and second in the drivers’ standings over the first two seasons.

Pre-season testing for the third season of W Series begins this week in Barcelona. The series will again support the Formula 1 calendar at eight rounds this year, with two-time champion Jamie Chadwick returning after she was unable to secure funding to race in Formula 3 or F2 this season.

Powell, who also returns for a third season, said she is aiming to take this year’s W Series title. “I’m delighted to be back and fully focused on W Series this year,” she said.

“I’m expecting this season to be even harder than last – Jamie Chadwick is back to defend her title, Abbi Pulling is back for a full season… and there are some really fast young drivers attending the pre-season test in Barcelona this week. But hopefully I’ll have the right tools to launch another strong bid for the title and be able to win the championship. I’ve finished third and second in the two previous seasons, so surely number one is next.”

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Comment of the day

There’s plenty of excitement among some Formula 1 fans about new season of Netflix F1 show Drive to Survive. However, @stefmeister wishes there was a documentary series designed to appeal just to hardcore F1 fans…

I watched and quite liked the first season of Drive to Survive but I tuned out of it part way through season two and also didn’t watch much of season three as I just don’t like the way the show plays with things to create narratives that don’t exist and things.

I was hoping it would be and would much prefer it to be a proper documentary and it simply isn’t. It’s clearly not something aimed at fans like me who have been watching long term, Who are deeply knowledgeable of the sport and who watch all of the races so are able to see through a lot of things they do to to ‘spice things up’.

It’s just disappointing/frustrating for me that there isn’t an alternative that gives fans like me something that is more of a proper documentary.

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Jose Arellano, Becca Blue, Robert and Penny!

On this day in motorsport

Nigel Mansell, Williams, Kyalami, South Africa, 1992
Mansell dominated the first race of 1992, as he did much of the season
  • 30 years ago today Nigel Mansell dominated the first race of the season at Kyalami in his Williams-Renault FW14B

Author information

Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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20 comments on “Zhou – ‘More pressure on me in F2 last year than F1’”

  1. I called that cotd. Well written.

  2. Regarding the COTD I think that is how most F1 fans feel about the show but many watch it anyway because there is some good content and we can usually read between the lines. I’ll watch/fast forward through season 4 but I doubt I’ll enjoy it as much as I thought I would when first approaching the series.

  3. Neil (@neilosjames)
    1st March 2022, 0:47

    Was talking about Drive to Survive today, with someone who loves it but can’t stand more than a few minutes of F1 itself. Whereas I’m the opposite, in that I struggled through about 15 minutes of DTS before giving up.

    If the CoTD idea became reality, I wonder if a third group of ‘F1 fans’ would emerge, who only like the serious documentary but have no time for the racing or DTS…

  4. I agree with the COTD, I’d also like to see a PG version. My son would love to watch it but the excessive use of expletives is just a bit much, especially when Guenther gets going. A more sanitary doco version would be very welcome.

    Also, surely Zhou feels more pressure this year. As the F2 season went on, he was more and more certain of an F1 drive almost seemingly irrespective of results. This year there’ll be far more (critical) people watching to see him prove he deserves that seat. He might be playing it down simply for some mind management.

    1. @tommy-c Agree with this, as a dad of two small boys. It seems like they wanted to appeal to a new crowd of younger people with DTS, but also alienated a huge section of them with the language. I don’t personally enjoy DTS that much – mostly for the reasons mentioned in COtD, but I think it’s something I would enjoy watching with my kids if it was more PG.

  5. I agree with the COTD, DTS is more of a soap opera with an overlay of a Hollywood trailer about it.

  6. Honestly, FP1 is not exactly the session worth paying the most attention to during the weekend. Track conditions are often inadequate or sometimes, such as with the night races, totally irrelevant.

    Disagree. This season, FP1 will be run just one hour (and two days, obviously) before the race start time, and FP2 will start 2 hours after race start time, near sunset in some places. FP1 could be more representative in many venues.

    1. @diezcilindros FP1 (& FP2) was, of course, an hour-long also last season, & not every FP1 starts precisely two days before the same weekend race, nor is FP2 start time two hours later than the race equivalent.
      Additionally, FP2s, especially in Europe, don’t start near sunset. However, Suzuka is the opposite example.
      Otherwise, yes, FP1 could be slightly more representative depending on location.

  7. Zhou just has to wait for his first crashes and errors, facing medias, to feel the pressure. The sport has no mercy, he’ll face that reality in a few weeks surely.

    1. Was thinking the same, it will highly depend on his season start. Especially that he faces a tricky team mate, can be fast at his best but is not seen as such by all. If Zhou is 6-8 tenths off (which is not uncommon for rookie), he might well get some pressure quickly. Not even mentioning if he has couple of crashes in the first few races.

      1. Yes, especially in qualifying it’s not easy to match bottas for most f1 drivers atm.

    2. petebaldwin (@)
      1st March 2022, 9:07

      He’ll definitely have pressure in F1 but I can see his point. In F2, he had the opportunity to win every race and he was racing for his career. If he didn’t get picked up by an F1 team, he’d end up in lower categories, floating around for the rest of his career.

      He’s made it to F1 now and no-one is really expecting him to beat Bottas over a season initially. He can take his time to get used to the the car without the pressure of knowing he could win every race…

    3. Indeed, makes me think of Tsunoda 1 year ago! It’s different pressure, but pressure all the same.

  8. Regular points & Q3 every event might be a tad over-optimistic, especially if AR starts the seasons as the outright slowest team or 2nd-slowest.

    I assume pretty much all teams operate similarly in principle.

    Kyle M. Kirkwood’s tweet: I can look that hand more than Grosjean’s.

    I also believe Merc has an edge going into the opening event.

    Adequate enough solution. BTW, Singapore is a bit different from the Middle Eastern ones as ambient temps stay relatively stable throughout the day, unlike in the latter between afternoon & evening/late afternoon, although slightly similar with SA as the earliest sessions (FP1 & 3) don’t begin any sooner than late-afternoon.
    Wholly daylight events are pretty indifferent on this front.

    Admittedly, I share COTD’s view in principle.

  9. Even if it’s a mediatalk or then the stakes were over the top in F2. I don’t want to hear drivers say “nah it’s just a race and nothing to worry about.” When a rookie is going to his first race in F1.
    F1 should be the pinnacle and not an enviroment where your nations first driver don’t feel any pressures. It may give the wrong image from the sport.
    It has happened a few times now and it may be good to know how to handle the pressure or not to show it to the press but still it flattens the excitement around.

  10. If you think you can just disappear in F1, even in an Alfa Romeo, think again. Billions of eyeballs in China and beyond will be watching and Weibo-ing or whatever they do instead of tweeting – especially when, like Tommy C’s said above, you’ve been promoted before a certain more deserving Alpine junior driver.

    Good luck with Q3 at every race…but crashing a bit less than Yuki and Mick did will help.

    1. Except that the Chinese fans don’t care about Oscar Piastri…

    2. Tommy says so much but reality is if the talented Oscar can’t find sponsors then he isn’t the super talent he thinks. Even Max had the baking of 2 sponsors (Jumbo and Exact) all the time.
      Others who are has a eye for talent would bring him to the right parties and his seat was settled.

      I think only 1 driver can come from F2 each every 2 years so there is room for them. And the promoted F2 drivers get 1 year to show he is talented otherwise he gets replaced.

      1. Max also has the advantage that his father was a wealthy and well connected individual within the world of motorsport, which gave him a level of access to potential sponsors that others might not have.

  11. The biggest pressure won’t come from F1, but from China. Their public (the party, really) does not forgive failure. They will consider him as a Chinese ambassador of sorts, a national investment. Now he can only be a hero or a zero. As for his team and F1 in general, all problems can be solved with proper funding. The only pressure Mazepin faces is related to his citizenship at the moment, Stroll is literally having a stroll in F1, at one point Williams was considering dropping Russel (!?) and not Latifi… If there was any real pressure none of them would be here, including Zhou. They couldn’t even be the best in lower categories (yes, Stroll won some championship, but to compare his level of preparation to other drivers would be utterly unfair, he was driving those cars as much as he wanted and preparing like money is not an issue… Anyway we see him in F1, not even average).

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