The ‘underestimated’ 2022 rookie set to make F1 history
This year Guanyu Zhou will become Formula 1’s first full-time Chinese driver, a potential hero who could galvanise grand prix racing in the world’s most populous nation. LUKE SMITH examines how Zhou beat several other candidates to the Alfa Romeo seat
Formula 1 established a foothold in China with the first grand prix in Shanghai in 2004. But the crowds took their time coming. What the series’ bosses have always craved is a local star to help properly tap into the latent riches of the world’s second-largest economy.
In 2022, F1 will finally get its first full-time Chinese driver when Guanyu Zhou graduates from Formula 2, joining Alfa Romeo as Valtteri Bottas’s team-mate. The announcement of Zhou – colloquially known as ‘Joe’ – was heralded as being “fantastic news for F1” by head honcho Stefano Domenicali, who was delighted that “the millions of passionate Chinese fans now have a home hero to cheer all year long”.
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