In 2022, Guanyu Zhou will become the first Chinese to compete in the tournament formula 1 in history, when he will team up with Valtteri Bottas in the most improved duo at Alfa Romeo. The Chinese market is one of the targets F1 for a while, including the entry of the Chinese Doctor, in Shanghai, on the calendar – but with less interest generated by the country than the category would like.
Therefore, the entry of Zhou and his sponsors may provide new opportunities for F1 join the country, according to the head of the Hinwil team, Frédéric Vasseur.
“You know the first impression is ‘okay, I’ll enter the Chinese market’, but I think that’s too ambitious, too difficult”, argued Vasseur on the GPFans website. “We had some contacts the day after the announcement, mainly from European companies that want to enter the Chinese market”, he explained.
“I don’t work for F1 or with other teams. I think it will also mean a great opportunity for F1, for all the teams, but the exposure will explode. “It will be a ‘big hit’ for the system. We have to face it as an opportunity for everyone. We are working hard to improve this area. But we have to avoid misunderstanding, the end goal is always performance”, he concluded.
Alfa Romeo competed in the 2021 championship with Kimi Räikkönen and Antonio Giovinazzi as the main drivers, and ninth place on the leaderboard did not leave the team feeling excited. The Finn decided to retire from Formula 1, when the Italian did not renew his contract and left for Formula E, where he will start playing for Dragon at the end of January.
So the team followed Bottas – who is leaving Mercedes after five years – and Zhou, who finished the 2021 F2 season in third place. On the other hand, the Chinese driver will not have the opportunity to run at home in his rookie season, since the Chinese GP will not be part of the calendar in 2022. However, Liberty Media has already confirmed that it has reached an agreement on the fulfillment of the Shanghai dispute between 2023 and 2025.