The Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN Formula One Team announced on Tuesday that Chinese driver Guanya Zhou will make his Formula One debut with the Swiss-based outfit in 2022 alongside Valtteri Bottas and in doing so becomes the first Chinese driver to enter Formula One.
Zhou replaces Antonio Giovinazzi who had been with the team for three years while Valtteri Bottas replaces the retiring Kimi Raikkonen. Speaking about the news, Frédéric Vasseur, Team Principal Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN said:
“It is a pleasure to welcome Guanyu Zhou to Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN. 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 One. 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 ORLEN is a historical brand and one that embodies the spirit of Formula One and we will do our utmost to make the experience of our sport a great one in China.”
Having experienced success at all levels of racing in his career, Zhou, 22, has been on the radar of most F1 teams for some time. He finished second in Italian F4 in 2015, before racking up race victories in Euro F3 and F2, Formula One’s feeder series. 2021, in particular, has been a breakthrough year for the driver, who is currently in second place in the standings in F2 and is ready to mount a challenge for the title in the final two events of the season in Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi. Speaking about his arrival, Zhou said:
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. It is a privilege for me to start my Formula 1 racing 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 ORLEN 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.