China's Zhou to drive in F1 Austrian GP practise

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, June 29, 2021
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China's Alpine F1 test driver Zhou Guanyu will drive in a Formula One Grand Prix weekend for the first time this Friday, when he takes over Fernando Alonso's A521 for the first practise session at the Austrian Grand Prix.

In doing so, Zhou will become the first Chinese driver to take part in a Grand Prix weekend since Ma Qinghua drove in five F1 practise sessions in 2012 and 2013.

"Driving in FP1 at a Formula 1 Grand Prix weekend is like a dream coming true and another step closer to my ultimate goal of becoming a Formula 1 driver," said Zhou.

"It's going to be a very special moment. I'm preparing myself as much as I can to be ready and also ensure that I'm able to complete all the targets and plans that the team has set me to do."

"There have not been many Chinese drivers in Formula 1, so to be behind the wheel of an F1 car during a race weekend is going to be a very proud feeling."

"It's going to be even more special that I'm driving Fernando's car as he inspired me to pursue a career in racing when I was young."

"I'm very happy with my achievements so far and I'm very thankful for the support I have from those around me. My aim is to maximise this opportunity and I'm really looking forward to it."

Zhou has been part of Alpine's driver academy since 2019, when it was run under its previous Renault guise, and currently serves as Alpine's official test driver.

The Shanghai native is currently in his third season racing in the feeder Formula Two series, which he currently leads by five points from fellow Alpine junior Oscar Piastri.

Alpine has already confirmed its F1 driver lineup for 2022, with incumbent Esteban Ocon recently signing a contract extension to continue alongside Alonso.

However, the French squad has said it would explore options to find Zhou a race seat in F1 next year, assuming he gains the necessary super license points. 

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