‘Not hitting the anti-stall’ – Zhou jokes on target for the weekend

Zhou Guanyu will be contesting his first Australian Grand Prix this weekend.

Zhou Guanyu hopes to acclimatise himself to the start procedure of a Formula 1 car over the next few races as he aims to avoid a repeat of the opening lap of the 2022 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

Zhou will be contesting his first-ever Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne this weekend, as none of the junior Formulae race there mainly owing to logistical issues.

The Chinese is a fan of the new layout aimed at promoting closer racing, and looks forward to capitalising on the unique distinction of four DRS zones at the circuit this season.

READ: ‘You are not Max Verstappen’: Canadian police force has a message for F1 fans ahead of Australian GP

“It’s pretty cool. It’s quite a lot different to what I’ve seen in the past,” he said in the drivers’ press conference.

“It’s quite similar to a street circuit even though it’s a racetrack just because you see some exit kerbs for example the last corner [where] they reduced the exit of the astro turf off the kerb, made it more tiny, then [there’s] just a little bit of kerb and then it goes into a wall.

“Also on the entry of the corners I think it’s a tricky one because you have the grass on the left hand side so we’ve seen in the past when people drop one wheel on that, it could be a huge crash or shunt into that.

“Nevertheless, I like quite a lot the track, particularly with the four DRS zones, I think there will be plenty of opportunities in the race to be thinking [of] overtaking, getting re-passed so it could be very entertaining.”

Zhou made quite a decent start in Jeddah two weeks ago, but got caught up in Turn One with McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo.

Article continues below

At abnormally low speed for an F1 car, his Alfa Romeo went into anti-stall, and he joked about that when asked about his ambitions for this weekend in Melbourne.

READ: Ricciardo unbothered by Horner’s ‘spectacularly bad timing’ comment

“Not hitting the anti-stall on lap one,” he replied with a chuckle.

“I think after the first two weekend I learned how to understand a bt more about that because in Formula 2 you can use any gears you want and the engine never goes into that mode so here you need to understand when the revs are [optimal] and to be doing the right procedure and we’ll try to improve together with the Ferrari [power unit] for me to be understanding and make the progress on that.

“I’m more confident now after the two weekends but nevertheless it’s a new track for me and some drivers so we just have to take into the rhythm and build up the pace.”

Zhou, Mick Schumacher, Yuki Tsunoda and Nicholas Latifi will all be making their Australian Grand Prix debut this weekend.