Guanyu Zhou, Alfa Romeo, Spa-Francorchamps, 2022

Zhou expects to keep F1 seat in 2023 and predicts Chinese GP will return

2023 F1 season

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Zhou Guanyu is confident he will keep his place on the Formula 1 grid next year – and that he will have the chance to compete in his home grand prix.

The Alfa Romeo rookie is the first driver from China to race in the world championship. He lies 17th in the standings having scored in two races but suffered a series of technical problems and a shocking crash at the British Grand Prix.

Zhou believes team principal Frederic Vasseur is happy with his progress and he is hopeful of getting a second season alongside Valtteri Bottas.

“[There is] nothing confirmed yet, but we will wait for the confirmation,” Zhou said of his F1 future at last weekend’s Belgian Grand Prix.

“We obviously started talking about it, my side and also from the team side. They are very happy with the job I was doing so far, especially after a tough Silverstone weekend, to come back [and] continue to [be] in form from, let’s say, Budapest was a switch-around point to here.

“So I’m happy with all the group, all the crew, and going along well with Fred, with Valtteri. So it should be no big issue for next year, as long as we concentrate for this year.”

Next year will be Alfa Romeo’s last season branding Sauber’s F1 operation. The team has its own junior driver in Formula 2, Theo Pourchaire, who is one of the contenders for the seat Zhou currently occupies.

However Zhou brings useful sponsorship to the team. His potential value will increase if the Chinese Grand Prix, which was last held before the pandemic, returns on the 2023 F1 calendar. Zhou is confident the race in his home city Shanghai will run next season.

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“[The] Chinese Grand Prix will be likely, it should be here next year,” he said. “I feel like it will be. It’s not been confirmed but still I know they are pushing for it, and everything looks quite good in restrictions Covid-wise, so I think it’s a big opportunity.”

F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali was asked last week if the series will return to China in light of human rights violations committed in the country and its refusal to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, an event which led to the Russian Grand Prix being cancelled.

“As we always said, the political line of the sport is always very thin,” Domenicali explained. “We need to be always prudent. But for us, we always said that we want to bring the spotlight on other positive values. And this is what is happening. We are going to be in all the countries that are highlighting what we believe is the right thing to highlight.

“[If] it is not happening, of course, we will take the right decision to move out. In this moment, I think that the situation in China has to be followed for many reasons. We have the Covid-19 situation, that is unclear, and I really believe that all the major sports leagues are waiting to understand what’s going on.”

Domenicali expects the situation to become clearer after the ruling Chinese Communist Party’s National People’s Congress, which is held every five years, takes place in October.

“We believe that we are going to have a clear guidance on what is the scenario for China in the future within the end of this year,” said Domenicali. “From the political perspective, there is a big event there at the end of October.

“Then, of course, on our side, the first point will be to understand what will be the Covid regulations that has to be applied in that country. Then we will see how the situation will evolve. I don’t want to take any kind of conclusion. We are monitoring, as always, the situation in these countries and I think that our course has always been approved by facts, so far.”

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Author information

Ida Wood
Often found in junior single-seater paddocks around Europe doing journalism and television commentary, or dabbling in teaching photography back in the UK. Currently based...
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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10 comments on “Zhou expects to keep F1 seat in 2023 and predicts Chinese GP will return”

  1. playstation361
    31st August 2022, 13:14

    I hope the true fan follower benefits out of this deal if it happens.

  2. Pay driver that disappointed his team by not bringing further Chinese sponsorship interest.

    Everyone pretending a Chinese GP will happen because while planning for another cancellation.

    Does Feed still remember Theo Pourchaire?

  3. The Saudis recently gaoled a woman for 34 years because she had a Twitter account and re-tweeted something from an activist. So as long as China doesn’t start WW3 they’ll get their Grand Prix.

  4. Same, zero doubts about Zhou’s continuation & the Chinese GP finally reoccurring if/when the event will (temporarily at least) return to the late-season flyaway phase to get more lead time for entry restrictions getting lifted in time.

  5. @jerejj Disappointing, he is a waste of a seat just like stroll and latifi especially when there are talented drivers like Oscar Paistri who couldn’t race this year and was forced to find another deal for 2023 due to all of the the seat blockers in F1, my solution is a return to 22-24 car grids so pay drivers don’t waste a seat at a good team.

    No surprised seeing pay driver zhou with the mega millions he brings to the team as he is backed by the ccp who want their nation branding propaganda exercise to pay off and demand a home race… But with the political situation with the threat to invade Taiwan and the repressive ‘zero’ policy i wouldn’t be surprised if the chinese GP was cancelled again.

    1. @ccpbioweapon Comparing him to Stroll & especially Latifi is unfair since he’s proved a decent driver overall.
      The provisional timing for the Chinese GP return is more than a year away (Something among the 24.9-1.10-7.10 trio), so too far away to consider any possible political situation impact.

    2. The only reason Chinese GP could be cancelled is that if China doesn’t lift Covid isolation rule.
      Zhou is backed by CCP ? Mind to share the evidence with us? Or get over yourself.

  6. Given Audis official announcement to purchase Sauber, I can see Schumacher moving to Sauber in 2023. Herta would take Schumacher’s place at Haas.

  7. While the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet released an report 10 minutes before her term ended… Stating: China responsible for ‘serious human rights violations’ in Xinjiang province: UN human rights report.

    While F1 looks away because of money reasons….

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