Alpine ‘have scenario in mind’ for ‘super talented’ Zhou

Michelle Foster
Guanyu Zhou up close. Italy September 2021

Guanyu Zhou up close putting in his ear plugs as he looks to the side. Italy September 2021

Alpine have a “scenario in mind” when it comes to junior driver Guanyu Zhou, but Laurent Rossi couldn’t say what it entails.

Alpine junior Zhou is currently competing in his third season in Formula 2, which is itself unusual with most drivers doing two seasons before being promoted to Formula 1, or trying their hand at another series.

Zhou has shown progress through his Formula 2 years, P7, P6 and sits second in this year’s championship behind Oscar Piastri.

But while Zhou is a member of the Alpine family, their door to Formula 1 is shut for 2022 with the team having confirmed Fernando Alonso as Esteban Ocon’s team-mate.

Alpine director Rossi admits space is a problem.

“The shortage of places in Formula 1 was unforeseeable when we signed our juniors,” he told Auto Motor und Sport.

“The guys are all good and we try to live up to that and find something for them.

“At the moment we can only see that each of them has a good future in racing. For example Lundgaard in the USA.”

The team also has a plan when it comes to Zhou with Rossi hinting at “something else” other than Alpine for the driver.

“We also have a scenario in mind for Zhou,” he said. “Maybe something else will come up for him.

“He deserves it because he’s a super talented driver.”

Zhou is being linked to a move to Alfa Romeo with his sponsors said to be open to paying €30million to put the Chinese driver in a F1 seat.

Guanyu Zhou

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Team boss Fred Vasseur admits the driver is on his list, saying: “Zhou is doing a good job in F2; for sure he is on the list.

“It’s not only due to the fact that he’s Chinese, that he’s a front runner in F2. He’s won some races and I think every single team in F1 is looking at him, but now, as I said before, but we have the first four events went a bit different.

“Now they are coming back to more standard tracks and the young guys in F2 have more experience and then we will see in two or three events where we are, what is the evolution of every single driver in F2.”

Reports, however, claim that Vasseur is only willing to offer him a one-year deal, the Frenchman wanting Theo Pourchaire in the car come 2023.