While we have had our share of Asian drivers on the grid over the years, did you know that until now, we had yet to have a Chinese racer compete in the Formula 1 Championship?
Now, Zhou Guanyu is making headlines after it was announced that he would join Valtteri Bottas on the Alfa Romeo F1 Team in the 2022 season.
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“We welcome Zhou, who will provide an exciting opportunity to engage and grow our fan base in China,” said Stefano Domenicali, the chief executive of Formula 1.
Zhou began karting when he was only eight but struggled because motorsport is not big in China. In a bid to pursue his love for the sport, he moved to the UK when he was only 12, where he was given proper training and the chance to show off his skills in races.
Zhou quickly rose through the ranks and easily conquered Formula 4 and Formula 3 under Ferrari. When he moved to Formula 2 in 2018, he switched to Renault’s young driver program. By 2019, the spunky driver was the programme’s top performer.
In 2021, Zhao won four races in Formula 2 and finished third in the overall championship. His win scored him a deal with Alfa Romeo who signed the driver up for the 2022 Formula 1 circuit.
While Zhao is the only new driver for Formula 1, he is starting strong considering that Alfa Romeo finished ninth last year.