(L to R): Valtteri Bottas, Guanyu Zhou, Alfa Romeo, Circuit Zandvoort, 2022

Bottas impressed by Zhou’s lack of errors despite “lots of outside pressure”

RaceFans Round-up

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In the round-up: Valtteri Bottas is pleased Alfa Romeo has rehired his team mate for next year.

In brief

Zhou’s lack of mistakes under pressure impresses Bottas

Bottas said it is “good news” that Alfa Romeo have handed Zhou Guanyu a contract for a second season with the team in 2023.

Both drivers joined Alfa Romeo this year, Bottas arriving from Mercedes on a multi-year deal and Zhou stepping up from Formula 2. Zhou’s rookie season in Formula 1 has included several retirements due to technical failures a car-destroying crash at Silverstone, but he has also scored three points finishes and cut his deficit to his team mate in qualifying. Zhou’s 2023 deal was announced this week.

“I think it’s good news, because following him alongside as a team mate, I really can say that he deserves the spot in the team and in F1,” said Bottas.

“He’s really mature for his age and experience, and he’s been learning a lot throughout the year and his pace has been increasing in qualifying and races throughout the year and he has done very few mistakes. So I think it’s good news, and I’m sure he keeps evolving and keeps improving in the future.”

When asked what had impressed him most about Zhou, Bottas replied: “How few mistakes he’s done. Because it’s not easy to jump into F1 and for sure, he’s got lots of outside pressure as well being the first Chinese driver and everything, but he’s dealt with everything in a really good way.”

Gasly: Fluid loss impacting focus at Singapore “the biggest challenge”

McLaren livery launch, Singapore, 2022
Gallery: 2022 Singapore Grand Prix build-up in pictures
AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly believes the “biggest challenge” for F1 drivers during the Singapore Grand Prix is the impact of fluid loss on brain function.

Cognitive performance decreases when there is less oxygen available for the brain, and when drivers sweat they lose some of the crucial oxygen their body carries. They can lose several kilograms in weight during this weekend’s race.

“We lose up to 2.5kg/litres, because it’s mainly fluids, from our bodies. So the impact it does on our focus and concentration [is significant],” said Gasly.

“There’s the physical demand, but there’s also the challenge of the focus where you’ve got to stay super-alert because driving full speed between the walls, you need to be extremely precise where you put the car. That’s usually when it gets tough, where you’ve got to be still really at the limit of the car, playing with centimetres, having lost quite a few pounds or litres inside your body. So that’s definitely the biggest challenge of the year.”

Mercedes in “a much better place” with car

As Mercedes continue to chase their first grand prix win of 2022, Lewis Hamilton the team is “in a much better place” with their W13 than they were earlier in the season.

“We’ve learnt a huge amount about the car, which is natural for everyone, but it’s definitely a huge help knowing where the working window is, what the working range is,” he said.

“So we’re able to predict pretty much where we’re going, whether it will work in one place compared to another. Also the limitations of the car, we know where those limitations are and have to try and work around them.I think we’re very fortunate, we’re in a much better place than we’ve ever been. So I hope that we’re not far away.”

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Comment of the day

Although he is confirmed to be racing for AlphaTauri next year, Gasly is also heavily linked to joining Alpine for 2023 as Esteban Ocon‘s team mate. But could that cause some drama?

Well Alpine will certainly be a team the Drive to Survive cameras will want to be around next season if Gasly joins the team. The reports are that him and Ocon really can’t stand each other at all. Fireworks on and off the track is what I am expecting. How is Otmar going to manage that relationship?

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Tyanne and Jamiejay!

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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11 comments on “Bottas impressed by Zhou’s lack of errors despite “lots of outside pressure””

  1. I remember when they announced the business model for W-series being glorified sponsors “buying” teams. Obviously it hasn’t worked and I really don’t think that’s the way to go about it. If there’s no interest for a womens racing formula then I fail to see how manufacturing it like this benefits anybody.

    How has it helped, on the whole, if the idea was to provide motivation to youngsters? Sure you can drive race cars, but nobody will watch, nobody will want to pay you, and you’ll essentially have no future. All of those women would have better luck elsewhere, ala Renee Gracie.

    1. First thing Martin Brundle said that instead of running a racing series, they could have used that money to run a F3 or F2 team that was all-female, both drivers and engineers. I always thought that would have been a much better way to get more women into the spotlight than running a separate series.

      1. In a way I feel that Extreme E has done a better job at showcasing women driver than W series which ask the question if it was the right formula. Extreme E attracts eyeballs with a highly regarded male roster, same eyeballs watching the women battling out and making some impressive drives at times. There is also important transfer of experience between drivers in an aim to win as a team.

        While I am not fully convinced about the sustainable message, I think that they are doing great about leveling male and female drivers. Why not have a similar concept with driver swap in a single seater? Ideally as a support serie to F1 with broadcast on free platform. Anyway F1 being behind paywall, they need to have free to air lower categories if they want new people watching the sport… F1 being the prime product and having an attractive one as “bait”.

      2. all-female, both drivers and engineers.

        That’s simply idiotic.

        You cannot give talent an out, or you’ll never figure out who’s good enough to compete.

      3. all-female, both drivers and engineers.

        That’s simply imbecilic.

        You cannot give talent an out, or you’ll never figure out who’s good enough to compete.

    2. Renee Gracie, eh?
      I don’t think selling raunchy photos and videos of yourself is the ‘sacrifice’ (?) many other females will want to take to achieve their racing dreams.

  2. The short answer to COTD, as I already did a longer one in the relevant article:
    Drivers need to manage a working relationship at the very least, as they don’t choose their teammates.

  3. I’ll be sad to see the W Series go (if it does). I think it sadly suffered a bit from over-extending itself just at a time of economic uncertainty (i.e. COVID, and now energy prices and a tottering global economy). It reminds me a bit of A1GP, another series I enjoyed, which was sunk in part by the GFC.

    I think it also shows how difficult it is to have a commercial, professional racing series. One of the things W Series does well is it rewards drivers for racing in it, rather than effectively charging drivers to race in it. Drivers are there because of their talent, not their wallet.

    I know some will say if it’s not profitable, then it proves it shouldn’t exist, but I’m sure the business models of F4, F3, and F2 are only sustainable because of rich drivers paying for seats, patriotic sponsorship of the young hopes of some nations, and F1 teams directly supporting junior drivers as effectively an apprenticeship. Various other forms of racing are also supported by manufacturer teams and gentlemen drivers (e.g. sportscars). The W Series might be able to survive if it adopted the model of other junior series, but it would lose its purpose to an extent.

    1. The W Series might be able to survive if it adopted the model of other junior series

      Not a chance with their current self-imposed limit on their potential talent pool.

      There are simply not enough interested drivers capable of raising these budgets to make this series viable on merit.

    2. @f1hornet I agree with all of this. Personally what killed it for me was moving to short highlights this year; I mean, what’s the point of turning on the telly/catch-up for like six minutes of (disjointed) action? It’s a short enough race as it is. I never understood why they did that, maybe it was a desperate attempt to feed some other revenue stream, but it must have meant far fewer eyeballs just at the time that adopting the F1 programme should have meant far more.

  4. @keithcollantine Sorry to be a pain. But I didn’t get a birthday shoutout. Neither did Max, I’ve recently (just now) learnt we share a birthday. I’ll get over it, I dunno if Max will though. He can get a bit stroppy at times.

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