Zhou accepts penalty for Schumacher collision, rues fifth retirement of season

2022 French Grand Prix

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Zhou Guanyu accepted the stewards’ decision to penalise him for his collision with Mick Schumacher in yesterday’s French Grand Prix, before he suffered yet another technical failure.

The Alfa Romeo driver was given a five-second time penalty after tangling with Schumacher at Beausset. The stewards ruled the rookie driver was “predominantly to blame for the collision,” noting he “lost control of the rear of the car when [Schumacher] was on the outside and made contact with Schumacher, causing Schumacher to spin.”

Zhou said he wasn’t able to avoid sliding into Schumacher. “Unfortunately with Mick, obviously into the corner I was ahead and before the corner ends, he kind of got more speed and going around a little bit in front of me, but by that time I had closed a little bit more in the corner.

“I think we both a little bit misjudged where we were in the position so it was almost impossible by that point before I realised he started closing more. I think he didn’t let me have enough space so unfortunately we had the contact, which is not something I wanted.”

Before the race, drivers discussed the stewards’ responses to several incidents during the previous rounds with the race directors. They included George Russell’s collision with Sergio Perez in the Austrian Grand Prix, which was penalised, and Alexander Albon’s clash with Sebastian Vettel, also in Austria, which was not penalised.

Zhou said his collision with Schumacher was: “Similar to, I think, George-Perez, Alex and Vettel. It’s very similar. One guy outside, they have got more grip, they tried to go ahead and started closing more and inside is kind of by that point tighter corner radius, you can’t really do much because your car started using more steer when they start turning.

“So I’m happy to take five seconds, but obviously just keep it consistent because Alex didn’t get a penalty. So as soon as it’s consistent for the rest of the year, I’m happy to do that.”

The stewards also gave Zhou two penalty points, which puts him on a total of four.

The Alfa Romeo driver did not reach the chequered flag after suffering the latest in a series of power unit problems. He revealed the problem materialised long before it put him out of the race with six laps to go.

“Actually 20 laps to the end I was suffering some issue, just a lack of power, having some misfire. I’m not really sure why. One lap it’d be okay and then suddenly three, four laps later I’d just have the issue.

“We tried to fix it, it looked like it was okay to finish the race, but then with six laps to go, I was just losing all the speed I had everywhere. So I think it was the safe thing to do.”

He has retired from five races so far this year, all of which were due to technical problems, apart from his spectacular Silverstone crash.

“Obviously it’s not ideal to still have that after halfway through the season,” he said. “Especially I think with a lot of races coming towards the end of the year [which] will be very hot like, for example Singapore, Austin, all these tracks, and even next week. All the guys are trying to not have any issues, so hopefully we can fix that.”

Zhou was one of three drivers penalised for incidents during the race. Esteban Ocon was also given a five-second time penalty and two points on his licence for tangling with Yuki Tsunoda on the first lap. Carlos Sainz Jnr received a five-second time penalty for an unsafe release in the pits, but no penalty points.

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2022 French Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...
Claire Cottingham
Claire has worked in motorsport for much of her career, covering a broad mix of championships including Formula One, Formula E, the BTCC, British...

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6 comments on “Zhou accepts penalty for Schumacher collision, rues fifth retirement of season”

  1. No Zhou no excuses.

  2. Totally agree. I personally think he is a nice person but he is has NO place in F1 and only racing because of his pay driver backing of the ccp to be a flag carrier for propaganda purposes aka Nation branding.

    My main gripe with him is that the astroturfed hype gas lighting viewers declaring him as a great driver when he finishes 12th or qualis 15th also equally disgusting is that he is does not deserve to be in F1 on merit yet no one ever questions this and the worrying trend of F1 becoming a pay driver only sport.. He spent 3 seasons in F3 winning nothing and another 3 in F2 not winning the title racing for a top team.
    This just proves how pointless F2 and the super licence system is when Oscar Piastri who won the F2 title in his FIRST season cant get an F1 seat but a well funded pay driver who spent 6 years in lower formula winning zero titles can buy a seat perfectly summarizes how pointless the super licence system is.
    The only solution is to have stricter super licence criteria but this will never change because the FIA is fundamentally a corrupt organization, what next Roy Nissany to race with williams?

    1. The issue isn’t the super licence system. The issue is money and manufacturer/brand specific driver contacts.
      Piastri isn’t a Ferrari or Sauber Academy driver – But Zhou is. So he gets a seat.
      Ferrari have 6 seats to fill, Renault/Alpine only have 2. So Piastri doesn’t get a seat. Sure it would help if he had $Billion in personal backing behind him, but he doesn’t.

      This isn’t new and it isn’t specific to these few drivers, or even specific to F1.
      Go back many decades and drivers were regularly placed in teams as part of an engine deal, and removed when the deal finished, regardless of how good they were.
      F1 is a money game. Try not to assume that it’s all about talent, skill or merit – that’s only a very tiny part of it.

      1. Nick de Vries was a Mercedes driver but still didn’t has a seat or even Mercedes can provide one for him.

        1. Yep. Mercedes clearly don’t want to make one available for him, or they would have done so already.

          The manufacturer junior driver programs can open up opportunities – but they can also be a barrier, shutting other options off.
          With several (6?) driver programs running in F1/F2 at the moment, aligning with one automatically excludes you from the rest.

  3. So Russians and Chinese aren’t our type of people.
    They aren’t hypocritical enough for you?

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