Amid growing speculation on who would sponsor Alpha Romeo by end-2023 as the Italian team have been set to conclude its accord with Sauber, the F1 team have said in a statement on Tuesday that Zhou Guanyu, the first-ever Chinese F1 racer, would stay in Alpha Romeo next year.
The 23-year-old Chinese finished third in F1’s main feeder F2 back in the 2021s. The Chinese F1 racer had harvested six points this season and often found himself among other rookies like of Mick Schumacher and Tsunoda.
Currently, Zhou has been standing at seventeenth in driver’s championship title race, five points behind Red Bull feeder AlphaTauri’s Tsunoda. The 23-year-old finished thrice with points this season with a tenth place in opening Bahrain GP.
Despite having had a promising debut, the Chinese appeared to have botched to continue the momentum and a better finish of the season seems unlikely, however, Alpha Romeo boss Vasseur often speaks very highly of Zhou when it comes to talent.
Alpha Romeo extends contract with Zhou
Nevertheless, Alpha Romeo F1 Team are badly in need of a sponsor to stay in Formula One. Amid such narratives, the low-budget team’s decision to hold on to the rookie could make sense, while whispers were loudening in F1 arena over recent weeks that Alpha Romeo would likely to reach a contract extension deal with Zhou this year.
Meanwhile, following the announcement, the team’s boss, Frederic Vasseur said, “I am looking forward to continuing working with Zhou. From day one with the team, at the Abu Dhabi test last year, he has impressed me with his approach to work and this is always a very positive trait.
We knew he was quick, but the way he adapted to Formula One in such a short time has been one of the best surprises of our season. He is a very nice guy, everyone in the team likes both his personality and attitude. He has had the humility to ask questions and learn, from the engineers as well as Valtteri, and the intelligence to apply all the information he got to improve race after race.
He will have this experience to draw on next season, and I am sure he will make another step forward as we continue to grow our team”.