Come subsequent 12 months, 22-year-old Zhou Guanyu might be Formulation One (F1)’s first Chinese language driver after signing with Alfa Romeo. Zhou replaces Italian Antonio Giovinazzi and can associate Valtteri Bottas, who is about to go away Mercedes and former race associate Lewis Hamilton.
The addition of Zhou concludes the fleet of drivers which might be competing within the 2022 grid.
Zhou can be the take a look at driver for the Renault-owned Alpine F1 team for this season and has been doing so for the previous two years. He first joined the French firm in 2019 and was a part of the Ferrari driver academy between 2014 to 2018.
Coming over from Alpine, Zhou brings together with him substantial monetary backing to Alfa Romeo. The business Chinese language sponsors which might be supporting Zhou is likely one of the causes the British firm signed him.
In an article by the BBC, workforce principal Frederic Vasseur admitted that the “additional earnings Zhou brings to Alfa Romeo would imply that the workforce would be capable of function at F1’s price cap subsequent season”. Whereas the larger groups don’t have any challenge with the brand new finances cap, smaller groups like Alfa Romeo are aiming to draw extra funding to hit the restrict and compete on equal phrases.
However greater than the monetary alternatives, the workforce values Zhou’s greater than something. Vasseur cited the younger driver’s current F2 victories in Bahrain and Silverstone this 12 months as proof of Zhou’s potential to compete on the highest stage.
“I don’t know if in the long run he might be a champion or not in F2,” Vasseur mentioned. “However this received’t change the potential that he’s a frontrunner in opposition to another very skilled guys.”
In an announcement put out by Alfa Romeo, the carmaker described Zhou as “a trailblazer who will write a pivotal web page of his nation’s motor sport historical past”.
“I dreamt from a younger age of climbing as excessive as I can in a sport that I’m captivated with and now the dream has come true,” mentioned Zhou with regard to his new appointment.
“To be the primary ever Chinese language driver in Formulation One is a breakthrough for Chinese language motor sport historical past. I do know plenty of hopes might be resting on me and, as ever, I’ll take this as motivation to change into higher and obtain extra.”
Zhou’s new position in Alfa Romeo comes just some weeks after F1 confirmed that the Chinese language Grand Prix might be again on the calendar in 2023 after a three-season hiatus because of the pandemic. The massive business alternative that China can convey to the desk makes it a sizzling marketplace for the game to take off. In consequence, the organisation is decided to broaden its progress in China because the nation has a probably big market to be explored.
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