Only superlicence delaying Zhou confirmation – report

Date published: September 18 2021 - Finley Crebolder

Guanyu Zhou on the podium at Monza. Italy September 2021

The Italian branch of Motorsport.com believes Alfa Romeo will confirm the signing of Guanyu Zhou once he has secured his superlicence.

The Swiss-based team have confirmed who one of their drivers will be in 2022, with Valtteri Bottas coming in to replace retiring compatriot Kimi Raikkonen, but have yet to confirm who will partner the Finn.

Antonio Giovinazzi’s future on the grid is very much under threat, with Formula E champion Nyck de Vries and Formula 2 title hopeful Zhou linked with his seat.

In recent weeks, Zhou has emerged as favourite to replace the Italian, with talk that his sponsors are willing to pay the team as much as €30m in return for a drive and team boss Frederic Vasseur confirming he is being considered.

“Zhou is doing a good job in F2. For sure, he is on the list,” he said.

“It’s not only due to the fact 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.

“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.”

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Reports from Germany by Auto Motor und Sport have stated a deal has not yet been reached though, with the Alpine junior driver wanting a multi-year contract and Alfa only willing to offer a one-year deal.

In the Italian media, however, there are claims there is indeed an agreement in place already, and the only thing delaying a confirmation is Zhou securing a superlicence.

“The Hinwil-based team will bet on the Chinese driver to join Valtteri Bottas in the 2022 season,” said a report in the Italian branch of Motorsport.com.

“But the staff led by Vasseur are forced to wait for the young Asian to add up the FIA points that will allow him to obtain the superlicence.

“If this were the case, Antonio Giovinazzi’s fate with the “biscione” would be sealed, regardless of the results of the Apulian driver…”

Zhou already has 29 of the 40 points required and currently sits P2 in the F2 standings, so it is almost certain he will indeed secure his superlicence this year.