Zhou seeking answers on Alfa Romeo F1 future during summer break

Alfa Romeo's Zhou Guanyu says he hopes to have an answer on his future at the Formula 1 team before the end of the summer break.

Zhou Guanyu, Alfa Romeo F1 Team

After an uneven rookie season, Zhou was afforded the room to grow at the Hinwil squad for a second year. The Chinese driver has rewarded that faith with more consistent and confident performances across the first half of the 2023 season.

Even if Alfa's disappointing car performance meant it has been tough for Zhou to stand out, he hopes to use the August break to agree terms on a fresh deal.  

“I want to have a clear picture before the summer ends, that’s for sure, and we have to see what to do to make everything happen on paper," Zhou said.

"My manager is discussing with the team, so we have to see.

"This time last year I was more worried than right now because I feel like the team is quite happy with the job we were able to do. I’m just continuing to work as I did.

"I think things will come but it takes a bit of time to figure out. I feel reasonably happy with the scenario and also with the people I’ve been working for, so obviously very happy to continue for the future.

“My priority is trying to stay here. After two years I really feel I’m settled well within the team.”

Zhou Guanyu, Alfa Romeo C43

Zhou Guanyu, Alfa Romeo C43

Photo by: Alfa Romeo

Alfa Romeo languishes in ninth place in the standings among an extremely competitive midfield, but Zhou has been matching his much more experienced team-mate Valtteri Bottas, which has not gone unnoticed in the Sauber-run team.

When asked by Autosport if that target was set by the team or by himself, Zhou replied:

“I think it’s a little bit of both. I want myself to be equal in terms of pace and then also the team expects me to do another step up compared to last year.

"On the other side, there are some weaknesses I wanted to improve on from last year, which I think we’ve been making a step forward on. Apart from the points the rest has been a lot stronger.”

The 24-year-old added: "From the first qualifying of the year we were able to achieve very similar in terms of performance and one-lap pace.

"The race obviously is a little bit depending on the package, sometimes luck, the strategy, but in general I think my target at the beginning of the year I was able to start already together with my benchmark, which is Valtteri. I achieved that and it seems to be keeping people happy in the factory so I'm less worried for the future .”

With Bottas already signed up for next year, the team's managing director Alessandro Alunni Bravi said he was keen to continue with a stable driver line-up for 2024.

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"Of course, we always said that stability for us is important," he explained. "We are a team that is in a transformation process, and we try to be as much stable as possible in all areas.

"There will be time after the summer shutdown to sit down with Zhou and look at what will be the best solution for both of us. Our target is to keep both drivers in our team next year but, of course, there must be all the elements in place to have a win-win situation."

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