Sauber driver Zhou Guanyu says he does not “give a ****” about speculation surrounding his future with the team after rumours that his seat was at risk for F1 2024.
Zhou was widely dismissed as a pay driver when he was signed as Valtteri Bottas’s team-mate for 2022, but answered some of his critics with a solid debut season with the Alfa Romeo-branded team.
With Sauber unable to maintain their momentum this year, F1’s first-ever Chinese driver repeated his 2022 stats of six points and 18th place in the Drivers’ Championship in 2023.
Zhou unperturbed by ‘crazy’ F1 rumour mill
Sauber announced ahead of September’s Singapore Grand Prix that Bottas and Zhou would remain with the team for 2024, ending speculation that a lack of financial backing had left the latter at risk of being dropped.
Zhou has hit out at the rumours over his future, insisting that he laughs off media speculation and is determined to prove his worth on the track.
He told Motorsport.com: “I don’t give a s*** about it, to be honest. It is like all the other crazy stuff I got when I first signed my contract.
“I was like: ‘I will just let it flow, I will make sure I do the talking on track; making sure people respect why I’m here.’
“Everything’s been good since then.
“I’m just quite laid back but it’s actually quite fun at times to see some rumours because you know what’s coming – you signed the contract, there’s still rumours about other people are taking your seat.
“It’s quite funny sometimes.”
Zhou pointed to other “crazy” rumours in the paddock in 2023 concerning Red Bull driver Sergio Perez and Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso.
Reports in October suggested Perez was poised to announce his retirement around the time of his home race in Mexico, with Alonso in line to replace him as Max Verstappen’s team-mate having been frustrated by Aston Martin’s mid-season slump.
Neither scenario came to pass, with Alonso warning of “consequences” for those behind the rumours in Brazil.
Zhou said: “It’s politics!
“People were saying Sergio would retire at the Mexico GP but nothing goes on. It is the rumours of Fernando swapping his seat. That’s crazy.
“I actually understand more about the media – especially when you have other drivers, or from the media of that country making rumours, [it] makes you worry.
“But from the inside out, you know what’s going on. You are quite easy understanding them.”
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