Zhou to start from pit lane after sprint damage

Henry Valantine
Zhou Guanyu is taken into his garage. Imola April 2022.

Zhou Guanyu will start from the pit lane for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, due to the repairs required after his sprint qualifying crash.

Zhou collided with Pierre Gasly on the first lap of the sprint race at Imola, with the Chinese driver having tagged wheels with the AlphaTauri as he attempted to overtake around the outside at the fast left-hander, Piratella, which left both drivers hindered.

While Gasly was able to come back to the pits and get back on track with a change of tyres, the Alfa Romeo was sent careering across the circuit and into the barriers, leaving him with significant damage and requiring the deployment of the Safety Car for the rest of the field.

Both drivers voiced their frustration at the incident, but the stewards deemed that no investigation was necessary, and it was chalked up as a racing incident.

As his crash came in sprint qualifying, Zhou’s retirement would have left him starting from the very back of the grid anyway, but the work needed on his car means he will have the extra penalty of needing to start from the pit lane, as the team will break parc fermé regulations to get his C42 fixed.

“The rear of the car is fully destroyed,” Zhou admitted to Formula1.com afterwards. “So a lot of work to do for the mechanics, and [it was] a bit unfortunate, of course, to end the race like that.

“It will be less opportunities [in the race] but I think, looking at the weather forecast, everything could still happen. There’s more to play for, it’s too early to give up yet, but let’s get the car fixed first and then we’ll have a look.”

Zhou’s Alfa Romeo team-mate Valtteri Bottas, meanwhile, will start the race from P8 after a solid run during Saturday’s sprint, and he said afterwards that he’s targeting a top five finish in the race.