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‘When money rules, it can be ruthless’ – Alfa Romeo bringing in F1’s first Chinese driver

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Current Alfa Romeo drivers Antonio Giovinazzi and Kimi Raikkonen. Photo: AP

Current Alfa Romeo drivers Antonio Giovinazzi and Kimi Raikkonen. Photo: AP

Current Alfa Romeo drivers Antonio Giovinazzi and Kimi Raikkonen. Photo: AP

Guanyu Zhou will become the first Chinese driver in Formula One after it was announced he will race for Alfa Romeo next season.

Zhou, 22, replaces Antonio Giovinazzi and joins Valtteri Bottas in a new-look line-up at the Italian team in 2022.

His deal completes the grid for next year’s F1 campaign.

Zhou is second in the Formula Two championship heading into the final two rounds of F1’s feeder series.

“I dreamt from a young age of climbing as high as I can in a sport that I am passionate about and now the dream has come true,” said Zhou.

“It is a privilege for me to start my Formula One racing career with an iconic team, a team that has introduced so much young talent into Formula One in the past.

“Now the dream is reality. I feel well prepared for the immense challenge of Formula One, the pinnacle of my sport, alongside a proven, world-class talent in Valtteri Bottas.

“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 One 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.”

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Zhou could bring as much as £20m in Chinese backing to Alfa Romeo. F1 recently announced an extension to race in China until 2025.

The departing Giovinazzi, 27, who has driven for Alfa Romeo since 2019, tweeted: “F1 is emotion, talent, cars, risk, speed. But when money rules, it can be ruthless.

“I believe in the surprise of an unexpected result, of big or small victories achieved thanks to one’s commitment.”


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