Zhou extends F1 contract with Alfa Romeo to 2024

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, September 15, 2023
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Zhou Guanyu will remain in Formula 1 with Alfa Romeo in 2024, after it was announced that the Chinese driver had penned a one-year extension with the Swiss-based team.

Alfa Romeo's Chinese driver Zhou Guanyu (C) chats with his team ahead of the Formula 1 Bahrain Grand Prix at the Bahrain International Circuit on March 20, 2022. (DPPI/Handout via Xinhua)

Reports had suggested that Zhou may be set to lose his Alfa seat for 2024 in favor of France's rising star Theo Pourchaire, who is a member of Alfa's driver academy and currently leads the 2023 Formula 2 championship.

However, the announcement means that Zhou is set for a third season with Alfa, which will be known by a different name next year as the team awaits a full takeover by Audi in 2026.

With the Chinese Grand Prix set to return to the F1 calendar next year for the first time since 2019, Zhou will also get the chance to race in front of his home crowd at the Shanghai International Circuit.

"Signing again with the team is always a great feeling, especially when we know how things are shaping up," said Zhou.

"I am proud to be part of Alfa Romeo and grateful for their trust. I have been working extremely hard since day one and there is an incredible level of motivation to keep doing so every day.

"I am also very excited about the opportunity to finally race with my team in China, in front of my home crowd. It will be a great moment and I'm proud to be able to share it with all those who have supported me."

News of Zhou's extension means there are just three open spots on the F1 grid for next year, with the two AlphaTauri seats still up for grabs, and Williams yet to confirm who will partner Alex Albon.

Zhou became the first Chinese driver to take part in a Grand Prix when he graduated to F1 with Alfa in 2022. Since then, the Shanghai native has taken part in 36 races and scored a total of ten championship points, with a best finish of eighth in the 2022 Canadian Grand Prix.

With Alfa Romeo struggling somewhat in 2023, Zhou has scored only four points this year, two fewer than his more experienced teammate Valtteri Bottas.

However, the Chinese has been generally closer to Bottas this year than he was in 2022, when he scored six points against 49 for the Finnish driver.

During his debut F1 season, Zhou notably emerged unscathed from a dramatic crash at the start of that year's British Grand Prix, when his car was overturned and slid upside down along the tarmac at high speed, eventually coming to rest wedged sideways between the barrier and the inner catch fencing. 

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