Calls grow for ‘underrated’ F1 driver to be handed new contract for 2024 season

Mark Scott
A truck takes the F1 drivers on a parade lap at the Hungarian Grand Prix.

The F1 drivers' parade in Hungary

Alfa Romeo have been urged to give Zhou Guanyu a new contract for the 2024 season with his current deal set to expire at the end of F1 2023.

F1’s first-ever fully fledged driver to hail from China, Zhou had a quiet rookie season in 2022 but has built up on that quite impressively during his second year.

A shock Lewis Hamilton pole position overshadowed Zhou’s incredible qualifying performance in Hungary, managing to bag P5 on the grid as the leading Ferrari-powered driver before a poor start undid a lot of that hard work.

‘Underrated’ Zhou Guanyu not at fault for poor Hungary start

But Zhou has been absolved of blame after becoming bogged down once the start lights went out at the Hungaroring, with Le Mans winner Richard Bradley saying an electronics issue was the likelier culprit.

“I don’t think it was driver error. I think it was an electronics issue,” Bradley said on the latest episode of the On Track GP podcast, a YouTube channel co-created by DR Sports and

“Normally what happens with these cars is when the anti-stall kicks in, the steering wheel flashes like a Christmas tree and you get a huge, big warning on the screen and every lights going off basically saying ‘what the hell are you doing?!’

“We have it in most racing cars whenever there’s something that you really shouldn’t be doing. I mean, the steering wheel really lets you know, like even at Le Mans when we’re in the night, we turn the brightness right down on the steering wheel – but if we cross the pedals and use the brake and the throttle at the same time, it goes max brightness and everything flashes.”’s recommended reading

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Bradley added: “I think Zhou, to be honest, is very underrated. I think the Alfa Romeo is just a mid-pack car but he’s kept Bottas very, very honest over the last two years.

“And also when you actually look at his junior CV, he’s a very likeable driver in the way he races.

“He’s a very clever driver and he’s a likeable guy. He has got the potential, and I think that he did a very, very good job on Saturday.

“Yeah, okay, something happened to him and then he got a bit flustered, because it was his best start and it all just went, but I think we can look forward to some good performances from him in the future.”

Bradley was joined by motorsport broadcaster Rachael Downie on the On Track GP podcast and she thinks Zhou has done enough to warrant keeping his place on the F1 grid in 2024.

“I agree. I really like Zhou,” Downie said. “He’s in an Alfa Romeo and there’s only so much you can do in that car.

“Give him another year, another season and let that confidence begin to build even more for him. But I think he’s a great driver. He really is.”

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