Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas is elated that team-mate, Zhou Guanyu, will be sticking around for another season.
The Chinese rookie’s arrival at the team coincided with Bottas’ signature from Mercedes at the start of the year, as Alfa Romeo transitioned to a new chapter in their history.
Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi had departed, and it was time for two new drivers to tackle the new technical regulations.
In the biggest haul of rules for 40 years, ground effect aerodynamics returned to the cars for the 2022 season, and Alfa Romeo will have spent large parts of the 2021 campaign preparing for this year.
The Swiss team have been much better for it, turning ninth in the Constructor’ Standings last season, to sixth so far this campaign.
Bottas and Zhou have scored points 10 times between them this term, with the latest of them arriving at the Italian Grand Prix through the 23-year-old’s 10th-placed finish.
Bottas, who is now in his 10th season in F1, has been playing a slightly different role this year to the one he had at Mercedes for the five seasons prior.
The 33-year-old was charged with following the German team’s instructions as they surged to the teams’ title every year he was there, but he has a much bigger input at Hinwil.
He has been integral to the development of the new car, and he has also been playing a mentorship role to Zhou, who finished third in the Formula 2 Championship last year.
The two have built a great rapport, and Zhou’s impressive debut season has earned him another go with the Sauber Group for the 2023 season.
Bottas was pleased upon hearing the news.
“I think it’s good news, because following him alongside as a team mate, I really can say that he deserves the spot in the team and in F1,” he said, per RaceFans.net.
“He’s really mature for his age and experience, and he’s been learning a lot throughout the year and his pace has been increasing in qualifying and races throughout the year and he has done very few mistakes.
“So, I think it’s good news, and I’m sure he keeps evolving and keeps improving in the future.”
Alfa Romeo have a best finish of fourth this year, which was achieved by Bottas at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.