Alonso: Zhou’s arrival on the grid ‘good for F1’

Ben Johnston
Guanyu Zhou sat in his cockpit. Abu Dhabi December 2021.

Alfa Romeo driver Guanyu Zhou sits in his cockpit in post-season testing. Abu Dhabi December 2021.

Fernando Alonso says it is good for Formula 1 and for China to see Guanyu Zhou getting the opportunity to race this season.

Zhou, who joined the Alpine F1 academy in 2019, will make his race debut with the Alfa Romeo team in Bahrain next month alongside Valtteri Bottas, who joins the outfit following five seasons with Mercedes.

Zhou is no stranger to Formula 1 having taken part in a number of tests for the Renault team before their name change.

The 22-year-old becomes the first Chinese racing driver to compete in grand prix racing.

Two-time former F1 World Champion Alonso said: “I’m happy for him. He’s a nice kid and we obviously had him in the academy this year, so I had a few days with him in testing.”

Alonso discussed what it was like working with Zhou.

“Also, last year when I was testing the old Renault on my comeback to the sport, I share with Zhou a couple of days in Bahrain and Abu Dhabi. So yeah, we have a good relationship. As I said, happy for him with this opportunity.”

Zhou replaces Antonio Giovinazzi, who has moved to Formula E this season, and Alonso also spoke about the Italian leaving Formula 1 for now.

“Antonio is stepping out, which is always how it works [in] sport. But it’s good for Formula 1 in general, I think, [and] for China, for Zhou. We are all looking forward to race with him and [to] welcome him in the best way possible.”

 

Zhou and Bottas have both already made their respective debuts for Alfa Romeo having driven in the end-of-season test at the Abu Dhabi circuit in December.

The pair will get to test the new car later this month when pre-season testing gets under way in Spain.

 

Zhou: ‘No better’ team-mate than Bottas

Guanyu Zhou believes that there is no better team-mate to have than Valtteri Bottas.