Zhou Guanyu aiming for longer than one-year contracts in the future

Sam Cooper
Alfa Romeo's Zhou Guanyu at the Dutch Grand Prix. Zandvoort, September 2022.

Alfa Romeo's Zhou Guanyu at the Dutch Grand Prix. Zandvoort, September 2022.

Zhou Guanyu has enjoyed the “pressure” of a one-year deal but is hoping for something longer at a later stage of his career.

The Chinese driver has just two races left of his rookie season having impressed so far during his time with Alfa Romeo.

He scored a point in his debut race and while he is currently P18 in the Drivers’ Standings, that is more a representation of the Alfa’s unreliability rather than Zhou’s ability.

Given his performances, Zhou’s contract, which was originally set to run until the end of 2022, was expected to be extended but that did not occur until late September.

But Zhou has been speaking about his extension and said he always had confidence it would be renewed.

“Halfway through the summer I really felt like the chance would be quite high [of getting a contract renewal,] even though you’re still waiting for confirmation because nothing is confirmed in this sport until it’s written down on paper,” he told GiveMeSport.

“It was good to have it all done and get it announced in Singapore.

“[It was nice] that people expect you to renew the contract because it means they respect what you’re doing on track – you’ve shown that you’re capable of doing things and you have speed and then everybody thinks that seat should be mine for next year.”

As with many rookies, Zhou’s deal has been extended only by a year but he said he is not fazed by that, revealing he enjoys the pressure and recognises that multi-year deals come later in a driver’s career.

“It’s quite normal for me because firstly, as a rookie, when you’re here you always have a single year,” the 23-year-old said. “I don’t think it’s good for either of us to have like a long-term deal straightaway because you don’t know how you will perform in F1.

“It keeps the pressure on so I have to keep pushing, getting the best out of myself and keep searching for more every weekend – it’s nice in that way because you really have to be focused.

“Next year will be another level up from this year’s target and I have to just keep getting better and better. I’m happy to deal with that, every driver has to deal with that in the first few years, and then you get yourself settled with longer contracts.”

Zhou currently trails his team-mate Valtteri Bottas by 41 points in the standings.

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