Guanyu Zhou, Alfa Romeo, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2022

Alfa Romeo see “great future in F1” for Zhou after best result so far

2022 Canadian Grand Prix

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Zhou Guanyu’s Alfa Romeo team predicted a bright future for the rookie Formula 1 driver after he achieved his best result of the season to date last weekend.

The only newcomer in the 2022 field scored points on his debut in Bahrain. He improved with eighth place at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, gaining one position after the chequered flag when Fernando Alonso was penalised.

Alfa Romeo’s head of trackside engineering, Xevi Pujolar, said Zhou’s progress across the season had been steady and impressive.

“He’s building the weekends very progressively,” said Pujolar. “Even in the race, he’s absorbing all the information that we give to him and he’s using that to perform what we need to do with the tyres – not only in the race, in qualifying [too].”

Zhou has especially impressed his new team by keeping rookie errors to a minimum, Pujolar added.

“I think also it’s taking this kind of approach without doing mistakes,” he said. “If you can avoid having incidents, then it helps a lot to the confidence race by race and that has been his strength as well.

“So [if] we can keep like this, I think he’s got a great future in F1.”

Speaking ahead of the race weekend, Alfa Romeo team principal Fredéric Vasseur acknowledged the team’s reliability had masked the quality of Zhou’s performance.

“You have to separate the performance of the car and the drivers and the results,” he said. “I think that in Baku, for example, Zhou had very strong pace, he was fighting with Vettel before the DNF and I think the performance was there.

“But if you don’t have the reliability you can’t score points,” Vasseur acknowledged.

Vasseur was impressed with Zhou’s performance across the recent trio of circuits. “I was a bit scared with the sequence with Monaco, Baku, Montreal, because it’s the three most difficult tracks for a rookie on the first part of the season.

“But in Baku he did very well. He was a bit unlucky in quali because he didn’t do a proper lap with the yellow flag. But at the end, the performance was there into the race. He always did a very good management of the car and tyre management.”

While several recent venues have been unfamiliar to Zhou, Vasseur expects better performances from his driver at upcoming circuits he has driven in junior categories.

“I’m really convinced that as soon as we will be back on the track that he knows pretty well that he will [perform] even more, but I’m more than happy with the job done so far.”

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Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a motorsport and automotive journalist with a particular interest in hybrid systems, electrification, batteries and new fuel technologies....
Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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8 comments on “Alfa Romeo see “great future in F1” for Zhou after best result so far”

  1. Zhou is pretty good :)
    Unlikely he’ll be a title contender at any point, but he’ll be a welcome face in the midfield for years to come.

    I’m happy to be proven wrong though

    1. Yeah, it is good to just have a new solid contender stepping up to F1 without everyone immediately hyping them up to be the next Senna/Schumacher/Hamilton/Vettel … @napierrailton.

      Coming into the season it was hard to know what to expect, but so far he has shown himself to have been a welcome addition.

  2. I liked Gio more but he is getting up to speed

    1. I never rated Giovinazzi

      He was always in Kimi Raikkonen’s shadow, and Kimi was a good few years past his prime.

      Antonio Giovinazzi never showed he had anything special to me, and he had plenty of chances, three whole seasons. Even when he had his best ever result of 5th, Kimi was in 4th

  3. Someone got their Q3 payment, I suppose.

  4. He maybe has great future in Formula 1 Mr.G.Zhou but the main point is what is the future in Formula 1 of the Alfa Romeo because Ferrari will exist for ever in the event as well in the past for the event and for the Ferrari. Ferrari exist not only in Formula 1 but also in the 24 Hours of Le Mans race.
    So Alfa Romeo could take part in WTCC/DTM which already in past has been made excellent results and trophies.

  5. Shouldn’t some of the credit go to his mentor, Valtteri? Even including the two masters, Vettel and Alonso, I doubt there is anyone who has worked so hard to help his mate succeed.

  6. Many so far this season have scored (extra) points due to others having issues. McLaren were among those having issues in Canada.

    Do we know the source of his funding? It has become an issue for others of late and halted progress.

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