Zhou Guanyu: More “detailed discussion” needed for Alfa contract

Jaden Diaz

Zhou Guanyu is yet to secure a contract extension with Alfa Romeo, he confirmed to the media on Thursday. A place on the 2024 grid is far from guaranteed, but the Chinese driver is relatively confident about his chances.

Arriving in F1 amidst significant scrutiny, Zhou has silenced most of the criticisms from when he first signed with Alfa Romeo. However, there are still viable alternatives on the market that could jeopardise his place.

Theo Pourchaire is the main candidate, currently leading the Formula 2 Championship as a member of Sauber’s junior team. Although gauging a driver’s potential from their results in feeder series can be difficult, the Frenchman has been highly regarded for many years.

Still, Zhou is hopeful that a new deal will be agreed in the foreseeable future. He explained the situation in Thursday’s press conference:

“I mean, it’s been going on, us talking together before the summer shutdown – we are still discussing together with the team.

Andreas Seidl (GER) Sauber Group Chief Executive Officer.
02.06.2023 Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 8, Spanish Grand Prix, Barcelona, Spain, Practice Day.
Рwww.xpbimages.com, EMail: requests@xpbimages.com © Copyright: Bearne / XPB Images

“As I say, [it’s a] happy place to be right now. Knowing the team, moving forward in the future, heading off to a works team.

“So it’s good for us and for myself. I’m just trying to do the maximum I can here on the track, and the rest is up to time, up to further detailed discussion together.

“But I think, let’s say, this time last year, I was a lot more nervous than I am now. Hopefully, I’m able to set everything down and have a good future ahead.”

Audi will certainly be an important player over the coming years, with the German manufacturer due to take over from Sauber in 2026.

It is unclear how extensively Audi will influence driver selection in the next two years. Zhou is performing at a similar level to Valtteri Bottas and is certainly the “safe” option available to the team.

However, it is feasible that Sauber wants to assess Pourchaire’s progression further as this year’s Formula 2 campaign concludes.

Author: Jaden Diaz-Ndisang