F1 News: Zhou Guanyu within touching distance of new contract

Jaden Diaz
13 Sep, 2023

Zhou Guanyu’s contract extension has been a hot topic in F1 news outlets, with uncertainty surrounding the 24-year-old’s talks with Alfa Romeo. According to the latest information, the previous sticking points have been addressed – and an extension is within touching distance.

In the early stages of 2023, the coverage surrounding Zhou Guanyu was generally positive. Competing in the same machinery as established driver Valtteri Bottas, the former Alpine junior, is more than holding his own.

Like all rookies, Zhou took some time to find his feet. However, Zhou’s pace has been comparable to teammate Bottas since the summer break last year.

A career-best qualifying in Hungary was another boost for the Alfa Romeo driver, at least publicly. Despite this, doubts loomed over contract negotiations after the summer break.

Originally, the 24-year-old outlined that securing his place on the 2024 grid over the summer was a priority. After all, Zhou has explained he feels more comfortable about his position within the team compared to last year. 

In recent weeks, however, more questions have lingered over the delays in announcing a new deal. 

Theo Pourchaire and Felipe Drugovich have been mentioned as alternatives for Alfa Romeo. These rumours intensified after the Sauber junior took the Formula 2 Championship lead.

In recent weeks, Zhou admitted that internal changes within the team – related to Sauber and Audi – were complicating talks. This added to the speculation about the sophomore’s future.

According to new information, courtesy of Julien Febreau, Zhou is now all clear. Having raised concerns about Zhou’s position previously, the F1 pundit reveals that negotiations are developing positively for the 24-year-old.

Numerous drivers in Formula 2 and beyond (as mentioned across F1 news outlets) were under consideration. Reportedly, none were successful in convincing Alfa Romeo that a change was necessary.

Zhou’s contract is understood to be a one-year contract. In some ways, this speaks to the uncertainty of the Swiss outfit’s driver selection.

It is unclear whether sponsorship played a role in this process, although Zhou himself dismissed these claims. Given the increasingly profitable nature of Formula 1, it seems unlikely that money remains a determining factor.

In any case, the Hinwil-based team is expected to retain its driver line-up for 2024.

Author: Jaden Diaz-Ndisang