Two out-of-contract F1 drivers quizzed on future with clock ticking to secure 2024 seat

Michelle Foster
A truck takes the F1 drivers on a parade lap at the Hungarian Grand Prix.

The F1 drivers' parade in Hungary

Zhou Guanyu says he was a “lot more nervous” about his future this time last year despite rumours a lack of budget could cost him his Alfa Romeo race seat.

Signed to Alfa Romeo in 2022 on a one-year deal, Zhou extended for this season but it was once again a 12-month contract leaving him facing an uncertain future.

Scoring just four points this season hasn’t helped his cause with rumours Sauber junior Theo Pourchaire, the current Formula 2 championship leader, is knocking on the door.

Zhou Guanyu hopeful of a ‘good future ahead’

And it is Zhou’s seat he is chasing with Valtteri Bottas on a multi-year contract that reportedly only ends in 2024.

According to Canal+ journalist Julien Febreu, Zhou could lose his seat because of a “lack of budget” with Pourchaire leading the running, while Aston Martin reserve driver and last year’s F2 champion Felipe Drugovich has also been mentioned.

The Chinese driver, though, says he’s not too worried as he’s already speaking with the team about an extension for next season.

“I mean it’s been going on, us talking together, before the summer shutdown and also we are still discussing together with the team,” he revealed to the media including

“As I say, happy place to be, right now, and also knowing the team, moving forward in the future, heading off to a works team, so it’s good for us and for myself, I’m just trying to do the maximum I can here on the track and the rest is up to time, up to more further detailed discussion together.

“But I think, let’s say, this time last year I was a lot more nervous than I am now. So, hopefully, I’m able to set everything down and have a good future ahead.”

That Alfa Romeo team representative Alessandro Alunni Bravi has also been talking about “stability” being key, is a tick in Zhou’s column.

He told Speedcafe: “For me, stability is a key, and so we are targeting to continue. Of course, with Valtteri and Zhou, there is a constant dialogue but the drivers are not a subject on our table now.” recommends

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Logan Sargeant accepts the ‘pressure is always there’ in F1

Zhou is not the only driver facing an uncertain future with rookie driver Logan Sargeant failing to set the stage alight at Williams.

Trailing his teammate Alex Albon in all the stats that matter, it has been suggested the American could lose his seat to Mick Schumacher unless he shows solid progress in the final 10 races of the championship.

Asked for his thoughts on his future, he replied: “I think from my side, I just need to worry about improving, show a good step from the first half of the season going into the second, and just work on improving myself, and as long as I do that, all should be good.

“I think it’s F1 and the pressure is always there. It doesn’t matter what position you’re in, or what team you’re in. It’s a performance-driven sport. I think we all understand that.

“So it’s all going to ultimately come down to that. It’s going to come down to how I perform, how I improve. And yeah, we’re all aware of that and understand that going into it.”

Earlier this week Haas confirmed their 2024 driver line-up with the team retaining both Nico Hulkenberg and Kevin Magnussen.

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