Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN will see an injection of talent and youthful enthusiasm for the 2022 season, as Guanyu Zhou joins the team as race driver. The Chinese youngster, a multiple race winner in the FIA F2 Championship, will make his F1 debut on the grid for next season’s opener in Bahrain.
The first ever Formula One race driver from China, Zhou is a trailblazer who will write a pivotal page of his country’s motorsport history. His path to Formula One is one of dedication and commitment, without a direct role model’s path to follow but with steadfast confidence in his own abilities and the unwavering support of his family.
Having experienced success at all levels of racing in his career, Zhou, 22, has been on the radar of most F1 teams for some time. He finished second in Italian F4 in 2015, before racking up race victories in Euro F3 and F2, Formula One’s feeder series. 2021 in particular has been a breakthrough year for the driver, who is currently in second place in the standings in F2 and is ready to mount a challenge for the title in the final two events of the season in Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi.
Zhou will join a team with extensive heritage and tradition, completing a highly competitive line-up alongside Valtteri Bottas: this combination of youth and experience will be ready to push Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN forward, at a time when the sport embraces a completely new set of regulations, and all teams start from scratch in their quest for glory.
With a complete race driver line-up for 2022, the team is now ready to embark on this new era with confidence. Welcome to Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN, Zhou!
Jean Philippe Imparato, CEO Alfa Romeo: “Alfa Romeo is delighted to welcome into its family, Guanyu Zhou, the first Chinese driver in Formula 1. The decision to recruit Zhou has been made in complete agreement with the Alfa Romeo Racing team and is the result of a specific objective and a clear strategy; for Alfa Romeo to become a global premium brand.
“Guanyu Zhou represents a key opportunity to take full advantage of the potential offered by the global F1 platform and serves as a privileged entry point into the Chinese market that plays a notable role in Alfa Romeo’s future. Welcoming Zhou to the team speaks of the inclusive power of a brand that inspires visceral and universal emotions, shared the whole world over”.
Frédéric Vasseur, Team Principal Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN: “It is a pleasure to welcome Guanyu Zhou 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 further in Formula One. We are proud of our line-up 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; Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN is a historical brand and one that embodies the spirit of Formula One. We will do our utmost to make the experience of our sport a great one in China.”
Guanyu Zhou, 2022 driver Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN: “From a young age, I dreamt of climbing as high as I could in this sport that I am so passionate about. Now the dream has come true. It is a privilege for me to start my Formula 1 career with such an iconic team, a team that has introduced so much young talent into Formula 1 in the past. I feel well-prepared for the immense challenge of Formula 1, the pinnacle of my sport, alongside a proven, world-class talent in Valtteri Bottas.
“I wish to thank the Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN team for this opportunity. Next year the target will be to learn as much as possible and as quickly as possible. To be the first ever Chinese driver in Formula 1 is a breakthrough for Chinese motorsport history. I know a lot of hopes will be resting on me and, as ever, I will take this as motivation to become better and achieve more.”