Guanyu Zhou will race with Alfa Romeo in 2022 to become China’s first-ever full-time F1 driver, the Switzerland-based team announced today.
The 22-year-old is fighting for this year’s Formula 2 Championship, and it has for several months been speculated that he will partner Valtteri Bottas at Alfa Romeo next campaign.
Announcing the move today, Alfa Romeo team principal Frederic Vasseur described Zhou as a “very talented driver”.
“It is a pleasure to welcome Guanyu Zhou to Alfa Romeo Racing,” Vasseur said.
“He is a very talented driver, as his results in F2 have shown, and we are looking forward to helping his talent flourish even more in Formula 1.
“We are proud of our line-up for 2022 and we are confident Zhou will form a very successful partnership with Valtteri. We are also looking forward to welcoming all the new Chinese fans who will join the team: Alfa Romeo Racing is a historical brand and one that embodies the spirit of Formula 1 and we will do our utmost to make the experience of our sport a great one in China.”
Meanwhile, Zhou said he was delighted to be realising his dream of becoming an F1 driver.
“I dreamt from a young age of climbing as high as I can in a sport that I am passionate about and now the dream has come true,” the Chinese driver said.
“It is a privilege for me to start my Formula 1 career with an iconic team, a team that has introduced so much young talent into Formula 1 in the past. Now the dream is reality.
“I feel well prepared for the immense challenge of Formula 1, the pinnacle of my sport, alongside a proven, world-class talent in Valtteri Bottas.
“I wish to thank the Alfa Romeo Racing team for this opportunity. Next year the target will be to learn as much as possible and as quickly as possible.
“To be the first ever Chinese driver in Formula 1 is a breakthrough for Chinese motorsport history. I know a lot of hopes will be resting on me and, as ever, I will take this as motivation to become better and achieve more,” he added.
Just prior to confirming Zhou as their second driver for 2022, Alfa Romeo announced that Antonio Giovinazzi would be parting ways with the team at the end of this season.
And, earlier today, it was announced that Australian F2 racer Oscar Piastri will join the Alpine F1 Team in 2022 as a reserve driver.
With two events remaining, Piastri currently leads the 2021 F2 championship.
Commenting on the signing, Alpine CEO Laurent Rossi lauded Piastri.
“Oscar’s natural talent is clear to see, so we’re very proud and privileged to have him as part of our team as our reserve driver from next year,” said Rossi.
“Not only does Oscar have the on-track skills, as demonstrated over the last couple of years in the junior categories, but also the maturity and composure that makes him really stand out from the rest.”