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Zhou Guanyu named as nation's first F1 driver
Last Updated: 2021-11-17 08:04 | China Daily
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Racing young gun Zhou Guanyu has made motor racing history after being named China's first Formula One driver.

Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN announced on Tuesday the 22-year-old will join their team for the 2022 season, with the opening race scheduled for the Sakhir circuit in Bahrain on March 20.

Zhou's teammate at Alfa Romeo will be Finnish racing veteran Valtteri Bottas, 32, who currently drives for Mercedes-AMG Petronas alongside seven-time world F1 champion Briton Lewis Hamilton.

"Becoming an F1 driver has always been my dream, and I'm really excited to finally fulfill my dream. I want to thank all my fans who have been following my races and supporting me," Zhou told China Daily in an exclusive interview.

"I'm looking forward to the opening race of the next F1 season. Until then, I will continue to comprehensively improve. And I will learn from my teammate, Valtteri Bottas, who is a very experienced driver. I hope you can always support me and follow my first F1 season."

Alfa Romeo said they are confident about their team for next season. The sport will undergo major changes next year, with new car design rules introduced, especially in relation to aerodynamics, to encourage closer racing.

"This combination of youth and experience will be ready to push Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN forward at a time in which the sport embraces a completely new set of regulations and all teams start their quest for glory from scratch," the team's announcement on Tuesday said.

"With a complete race driver lineup for 2022, the team is now ready to embark on this new era with confidence."

Frederic Vasseur, Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN's team principal, is also confident Zhou has a promising future in F1, and he hopes Zhou's inclusion will help attract more Chinese fans to follow the team.

"It is a pleasure to welcome Zhou Guanyu to Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN. He is a very talented driver, as his results in F2 have shown, and we are looking forward to helping his talent flourish even more in Formula One," Vasseur said.

"We are proud of our lineup for 2022 and we are confident Zhou will form a very successful partnership with Valtteri. We are also looking forward to welcoming all the new Chinese fans who will join the team," he said.

"Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN is a historical brand and one that embodies the spirit of Formula One, and we will do our utmost to make the experience of our sport a great one in China."

With 142 points, Zhou currently sits in second place in the F2 championship driving for the UNI-Virtuosi team. He began his third F2 campaign this year by winning the feature race at Bahrain's Sakhir circuit in March. Two months later, Zhou continued that fine form with a sprint race triumph at the iconic Monaco street circuit.

Zhou has raced in F2 since 2019, when an encouraging seventh-place finish in his rookie season suggested he was a talent to watch. His reputation continued to grow in 2020 with six podium finishes and a breakthrough pole-to-flag sprint race victory in Russia, en route to a sixth-place finish in the overall standings.

(Editor:Wang Su)

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Zhou Guanyu named as nation's first F1 driver
Source:China Daily | 2021-11-17 08:04
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