Zhou Guanyu has emerged as one of the more reliable drivers in Formula 1, generally matching the performances of his more experienced teammate Valtteri Bottas. Looking ahead, Alfa Romeo is set to avoid any controversial F1 news articles and sign a new deal with the Chinese driver.
There was plenty of backlash when Zhou first joined Alfa Romeo in 2022, with many fans labelling him as a “pay driver” and undeserving of his role.
Although the 24-year-old is unlikely to reach the same height as someone like Oscar Piastri, he is a solid and dependable performer in Formula 1.
Valtteri Bottas still enjoys a slight edge in qualifying performance and race pace over Zhou, but this difference is relatively small – especially given the experience gap.
With this in mind, team representative Alessandro Alunni Bravi outlines his satisfaction with Alfa’s two drivers:
“We are a team in the process of transformation, and we are trying to be as stable as possible in all areas,” tr.motorsport.com quotes him as saying.
“Of course, we are looking for improvement and opportunity.
“After the summer break, Zhou and I will have to sit down and see what would be the best solution for both of us.
“Our goal is to have both drivers in the team next year, but of course, all the elements must be present.”
Zhou Guanyu revealed last week that a long-term contract is his preference, but it remains unclear how many years Alfa Romeo is willing to offer in an extension.
Sauber junior Theo Pourchaire is still an option for Alfa Romeo on paper. However, Zhou’s current level seems adequate to dissuade the Swiss team from taking a risk on signing a young driver.
Although rumours of Alfa Romeo sponsoring Haas in 2024 have been accompanied by F1 news stories of the Chinese driver joining the American squad, this change is not set in stone.
Both parties have reasons to continue their current partnership, so the question is about how easily an agreement with satisfactory terms can be reached.
Author: Jaden Diaz-Ndisang