Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas is keen for team-mate Zhou Guanyu to stay next season, but insists that he is not getting restless as the Swiss side mull over their decision.
French driver Theo Pourchaire is currently part of Alfa Romeo’s junior programme, and he is second in the Formula 2 standings having won three feature races so far in 2022.
Zhou won four races in the series last year, and finished second in the championship to Oscar Piastri, who will join McLaren next season.
The Chinese driver recently affirmed that he is happy to no longer be a part of the Alpine system due to their handling of the Australian’s contractual situation, as well as that of Fernando Alonso.
Indeed, the pair of them felt let down by the French side due to their commitment to the other, so neither of them had job security or clarity heading into next year.
Piastri has signed with McLaren as a result, while Alonso will join Aston Martin, leaving Alpine in need of a driver.
Daniel Ricciardo, whom Piastri will replace, as well as Pierre Gasly, Mick Schumacher, and potentially Zhou, are all candidates.
There have been few noises coming out of Zurich as to their intentions next season, but Pourchaire has made it clear that this season in F2 will be his last.
Alfa Romeo, realistically, is the only option available to him, but Zhou has had a solid debut year in Formula 1, putting him in good stead for a new deal.
Bottas, who himself joined from Mercedes at the end of last season, is not fussed who his team-mate is, although if he had to choose, he is happy with Zhou.
“It would be nice to know [who my team-mate will be] but there’s no rush or stress about it,” he said.
“I think Zhou has been a good fit for the team and at this moment I don’t see any reason why he shouldn’t be allowed to continue.
“I would definitely root for his continuity as this is only his first year and for sure he can make a good step for the second year, that’s my feeling.
“I don’t think he’s stressing too much about it, he’s just keen to get this triple-header down, get some good points and maybe then potentially it would be time for him to sit down with the team.”
Sauber are set to end their partnership with Alfa Romeo at the end of this season, and are expected to be bought by Audi in 2026.
Bottas sees no reason why he cannot be part of the German manufacturer’s plans in four years, or why he cannot be a part of the Formula 1 paddock.
“At this moment, why not? I’m really enjoying it, I still feel I can drive fast and in the future I don’t see a reason why not,” he added.
“I still feel I’ve lots to give to the sport and for my personal future, if the feeling remains, then why not?
“Obviously you never know how you will feel in two or three years’ time, but now I’m really enjoying Formula 1, how high the sport is at this moment.
“The atmosphere at every weekend is great, I’m in a nice team and the work-life balance is really great for me at the moment, so I can see myself staying for that long.”
Bottas is currently contracted to Alfa Romeo until the end of the 2022 season.