Zhou Guanyu, Alfa Romeo, Albert Park, 2022

Rookie Zhou earns second year in F1 with Alfa Romeo

2023 F1 season

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Zhou Guanyu, who made his debut in Formula 1 this year, has earned a second season at Alfa Romeo. His new contract was announced by Sauber Group, the operating company behind the team.

The 23-year-old came into F1 this year after previously being affiliated with Alpine, and his first season in the world championship began with a points finish on his debut in Bahrain. He has since scored two more times, and lies 17th in the championship standings.

The first Chinese driver to race in F1 emerged unscathed from a huge opening lap crash at the British Grand Prix in July. He impressed Sauber with the way he rebounded from that crash in addition to the pace he has shown through 2022.

“Making it to F1 was a dream come true and the feeling of competing for the first time in a race will live with me forever,” said Zhou. “The team has been incredibly supportive, welcoming me from day one and helping me adapt to the most complex series in motorsport.

“There is more that I want to achieve in this sport and with the team, and the hard work we have put together since the start of the year is just the first step towards where we want to be next season. There is still a lot to learn, a lot to develop but I am confident in our work: I am looking forward to the next chapter of our story together.”

On his way to F1, Zhou raced in Formula 4, Formula 3 and then spent three years in Formula 2 which culminated in four victories and third in the points last year. He also contested the Formula Regional Asian Championship at the start of 2021 and won the title, guaranteeing he would have enough points for the superlicence needed to race in F1.

Alfa Romeo’s team principal Frederic Vasseur said he was satisfied with the way Zhou had adapted to F1.

“From day one with the team, at the Abu Dhabi test last year, he has impressed me with his approach to work and this is always a very positive trait. We knew he was quick, but the way he adapted to F1 in such a short time has been one of the best surprises of our season.

“He is a very nice guy, everyone in the team likes both his personality and attitude. He has had the humility to ask questions and learn, from the engineers as well as Valtteri [Bottas], and the intelligence to apply all the information he got to improve race after race. He will have this experience to draw on next season, and I am sure he will make another step forward as we continue to grow our team.”

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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...

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15 comments on “Rookie Zhou earns second year in F1 with Alfa Romeo”

  1. Not a great talent, the team even mentioned a lack of sponsor interest, yet still, F1 seat by passport.

    1. @proesterchen, He’s performed decently well, though, unlike, Latifi & Mazepin.

    2. @proesterchen yes the headline is somewhat comedic as it was 99% certain he would race in 2023.

      “earns a second year” is pure pr agent release speak, in reality he by proxy BROUGHT the seat as he is backed by the ccp because his family(his parents runs a company that makes OEM car parts for state owned car manufacturers) are closely connected to the higher ups in the party and pooh bear wants his nation branding investment to pay off with headlines of a ‘glorious’ home grown driver racing in his native country next year, so his 2023 seat was virtually guaranteed and not based off merit or skill.

      This isn’t china bashing or anything new in F1, pastor Maldonado’s family was close to Venezuelan socialist leader Hugo Chavez so he wasted 100’s millions USD of state owned PDVSA oil money for him to play destruction derby, no surprise when Chavez died comrade pastor soon disappeared from racing… Sergio perez parents are close friends to one of the richest men on the planet Carlos Slim which is why he has lasted this long in F1(Kamui Kobayoshi was the better talent at Sauber but got kicked out due to lack out pay driver funds) and why you currently see Telmex/Telcel sponsors on his Red bull car as they are carlos slim owned companies.
      Kazuki Nakajima got the Williams seat because he is virtually a high ranking Toyota employee (every pro race has been for the Aichi Prefecture based company or affiliates) and brought ‘free’ Toyota engines to the team.

      TL;DR most pay drivers NEVER earn their seat but drive because they bring €30m+ a season, I never understood why the media never talk about this like it is a taboo subject? We don’t need to sugar-coat pay drivers or semi talented drivers with multibillion dollar backers.

  2. Tsunoda’s continuation was effectively given for a while beforehand, as was Latifi’s departure & likewise Zhou’s continuation, so as expected & entirely unsurprising.

  3. I think he’s worth looking at for a second year but I’m not convinced he’s much more than a midfield driver. Maybe with more consistency he might be an option for a second seat in a bigger team but he hasn’t shown much spark yet to me.

  4. I’m glad he’s gotten another year, though he’d want to step up in 2023. I imagine his sponsorship is heavily tied to the Chinese Grand Prix, and if that gets affected by their covid policy again then it could be shaky. His driving has been decent but he hasn’t had much chance to impress – by the time he got up to speed, Alfa had completely dropped the ball and the midfield have comprehensively left them behind.

    I know it’s something that’s only really available to heavily-sponsored drivers, but Zhou is testament to how spending more than 1-2 years in F2 benefits a driver’s reliability. He’s been a very steady pair of hands straight out of the box, and it’s telling that the team are pleased with him so far.

  5. Expecting angry rant from @ccpbioweapon in 3…2…1…

  6. Backend midfielder with the right sort of passport and hence sponsors. They should have made room for Pourchaire instead they risk loosing him. Once again economy over talent.

  7. I don’t know where my earlier texxt went (somewhere in bitspace) but he has had some bad luck but he also could be a bit faster.

  8. Good.
    I think he is doing good for a rookie and deserves at least another season to acclimatise to F1.

  9. If by “earning” you mean being propped up by a brutal dictatorship. Time to do to China what F1 did to the Russians, but money is all that really matters.

    1. Right on!

  10. Is that a toupee or a Daniel Boone style beaver hat?

  11. I’m not sure why there’s so much hate, he’s done decently! He didn’t get in on the points haul early in the season when then Alfa was the only car not overweight so his points deficit doesn’t look good but lately he’s been holding his own against VB as a rookie. He’s out qualified VB 5 times in the last 9 races and finished ahead VB in the last 4. Granted, he doesn’t have blistering pace but he’s been pretty consistently there or thereabouts. His nationality has helped him get the seat but he’s keeping it merit. I’m glad he got another year, looking forward to see what he can do!

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