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Who Is Guanyu Zhou? Introducing Formula 1's New Chinese Driver

Who Is Guanyu Zhou? Introducing Formula 1's New Chinese Driver
By Jonathan Byrne
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Formula 1's Alfa Romeo team have announced their replacement for legend Kimi Raikkonen; Guanyu Zhou.

Zhou becomes the first Chinese driver to grace the Formula 1 circuits and will likely help to grow the sport in a huge market.

Alfa Romeo will see a total change of hands next year; as Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi will both be parting ways with the team.

Mercedes man Valtteri Bottas will be joining the books as their number one man going forward, with Zhou coming into the fold now as well.

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Who Is Guanyu Zhou?

Guanyu Zhou moved to the UK at the age of thirteen to compete in karting, before climbing through the ranks of Formula 4 and Formula 3.

The Chinese native has also been on the Formula 1 radar for quite some time. He joined the Ferrari Driver Academy while he was still karting in 2014.

After more than four years on the books of Ferrari, Zhou then made the jump to join Renault as a development driver in 2019, before becoming a test driver in 2020.

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He has competed for Renault in the FIA 'Virtual Grand Prix Series', which is an eSports event held virtually and acts as a close simulation of Formula 1 races.

Guanyu Zhou won the first Virtual Grand Prix of the renewed season, post-pandemic, coming first in the simulated race in Bahrain.

In 2021, he was utilised as a test driver for Alpine and participated in a practice session during the Austrian Grand Prix.

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Guanyu Zhou's Formula 2 Record

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Guanyu Zhou has been racing in the Formula 2 championship since 2018 and is second in the driver standings with three wins this season.

Now in his third season, the 22-year-old has been racing under the UK-based UNI-Virtuosi banner. He has won races in Bahrain, Monaco and Silverstone.

He's second in the driver standings to Australian starlet Oscar Piastri, who's been announced as Alpine's backup driver for the F1 2022 season.

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There has been much talk over the financial aspect of this signing for Alfa Romeo. Even Alfa Romeo Team Principal Frederic Vasseur admitted Zhou's finanical backing was a factor.

Many think Zhou has the driver capabilities to hold his own at the highest stage, despite the Chinese market and backing being so lucrative.

He has been followed closely by many in Formula 1 circles, having made seven podiums in the current Formula 2 season so far.

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Alfa Romeo Going Forward

The Italian based racing team are clearly implementing change ahead of the 2022 season now with Bottas and Zhou as their focal points.

Alfa Romeo currently sit ninth out of ten teams in this season's constructors' championships. With three races to go, that's unlikely to improve.

They operate with a Ferrari engine that Team Principal Vasseur has blamed for some of their shortfalls. They haven't made any engine improvements since the start of the season.

Outgoing driver Antonio Giovinazzi has probably had the most success in an Alfa Romeo car. He qualified in the Top 10 in Monza and Zandvoort.

Inconsistency has long been an issue for Alfa Romeo. They'll have to make some structural changes if Bottas and Zhou will have a chance of competing next year.

See Also: Watch: Hamilton And Verstappen Had Another Incident At Sao Paulo Grand Prix

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