UK: 18+ USA: 21+ | Begambleaware.org | T&Cs apply | Play Responsibly
Zhou Guanyu, the promising young driver from China, made history as the first Chinese F1 driver to participate in a grand prix weekend. Although initially labeled a “pay driver,” Zhou has silenced his doubters and shown steady progress, keeping up with his much more experienced teammate.
World Championships 🏆
Race Wins 🏁
Debut Race 🏎️
20th March 2022
(Bahrain Grand Prix)
Affectionately known as “Joey,” Zhou made his F1 debut in 2021, replacing Fernando Alonso for the first practice session at the Austrian Grand Prix for the Alpine F1 team. This opportunity was a long time coming for Zhou, who joined the Alpine Academy in 2019.
Zhou’s Brief F1 Career Has Been an Uphill Task
- 1 Zhou’s Brief F1 Career Has Been an Uphill Task
- 2 Born into a Racing Family
- 3 The Long Winding Path to F1
- 4 The Bleak Future Ahead
Despite being overshadowed by fellow Alpine Academy driver Oscar Piastri, Zhou did not let this deter him. He saw an opportunity to advance his career and secured a move to Alfa Romeo, along with all his sponsors. Zhou partnered with ex-Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas that season, scoring only six points compared to Bottas’s 49. However, Zhou made significant progress in reducing the qualifying gap between himself and Bottas towards the end of the season.
As Zhou heads into another season, he has a lot to prove to the grid. While it is true that he owes his entry into F1 to the sponsorship money he brought in, Zhou has demonstrated that he deserves more time in the sport. He may not be championship-winning material, but he has the potential to continue improving and developing his skills.
Zhou’s First Points Finish
Guanyu Zhou qualified P15 and finished P10 owing to Red Bull’s double mechanical failure in the season opener at Bahrain. Zhou joined an illustrious list of rookies who scored their debut points in their maiden race. It was almost a perfect weekend for the Alfa Romeo team with Valtteri finishing in P5.
The Pointless Streak of 7 Races
Alfa Romeo were soon pegged back to reality, with Zhou on the fringes of the points for a couple of grand prix before suffering from three retirements in the next five races. It would have been four from five if he hadn’t pulled off a heart-stopping move to prevent his car from crashing in the rain-soaked Monaco Grand Prix.
The Silverstone Scare
Zhou had finally broken his pointless streak with a solid weekend in Canada where he qualified ahead of Valterri and drove a solid race to cross the chequered flag in P8. He was ready to extend his form and made it through to Q3 for the second weekend running. He started the race P9, once again ahead of his teammate.
On race day he got off the line well but was involved in one of the scariest crashes in F1 history. After colliding with George Russell, Zhou’s car was flipped on its back and forced through the gravel before flipping and lodging itself between the safety barriers and the safety netting. Zhou was left hanging upside down in the aftermath but was thankfully unhurt. He attributed his safety to the ‘Halo’ on modern F1 cars.
The Disappointing End to His Rookie Season
Zhou managed to muster a P10 finish in the Italian Grand Prix owing to four cars retiring due to mechanical faults. Zhou ended the season on a sour note. He went on another one of his pointless streaks stretching six races, including the season finale at Abu Dhabi.
Born into a Racing Family
Zhou was born on May 30, 1999, into a household that had a connection to sports. His mother was a professional tennis player, and his father was a rally driver and motorsport executive. Zhou’s family has been instrumental in helping him scale great heights and financed a better life in the UK for him.
- Full name: Zhou Guanyu
- DOB: 30th May, 1999
- Age: 23
- Place of Birth: Shanghai, China
- Nationality: Chinese
- Team: Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake
- Race number: #24
Zhou’s Net Worth
As of 2023, Guanyu Zhou’s net worth is estimated to be around $3 million, based on his income from racing, sponsorships, and endorsements. Zhou, who is still relatively young and has yet to reach the peak of his career, is an attractive prospect for companies looking to capitalize on the huge Chinese market. He is a statement maker and is often seen wearing expensive watches to complement his flashy outfits.
Keeping His Private Life Private
In his private life, very little is known about Zhou’s dating exploits, as he is a private person and does not share details about his personal life with the public.
The Long Winding Path to F1
Zhou started karting at the tender age of 6 in China but moved to the UK when he was 14 to focus on his racing career. He competed in various championships before moving onto the 2015 Italian F4 championship, where he ended the season as the vice-champion. He then moved onto F3 and spent three rather mediocre seasons in the series before moving onto F2, where he spent another three seasons.
Zhou’s main Achilles heel is that he spent too much time in the formula feeder series without winning any of them. His only somewhat recent championship win was the Asian F3 championship in 2021, which came after two seasons of competing in the superior F2 championship.
The Bleak Future Ahead
In 2023, the Alfa Romeo car has taken a step backward, and any improvements made by them will be met by those from the teams around them. Their package is already uncompetitive, and it has only been five races so far. Zhou managed to bag two points in Australia courtesy of retirements further up the grid and was consistently well out of any points scoring positions for the other races. He trails behind his teammate, who is having a howler of a season by his incredible high standards, 4-1 in the qualifying battle. Zhou has an uphill task for the rest of the season, as it is pretty clear that he will have to drag the car to better positions if he wants any shot at retaining a seat in F1. With Theo Porchaire demanding a seat in F1 next season, Alfa Romeo will have to provide him with one unless they want an Oscar Piastri situation on their hands.
Zhou’s future with the team looks bleak after the 2023 F1 season. The car is meant to finish in the bottom half of the grid, and Bottas will most likely pick up the lion’s share of the points for the rest of the season. Zhou’s best bet to ensure a future in F1 is to drop further down the standings to AlphaTauri and Williams, who are currently the only teams with fewer points than Alfa Romeo.
A shaky season opener
Zhou’s season opener was one to forget; he qualified behind his more experienced teammate at P13. His race was uneventful, but he was able to bag the fastest lap after pitting on the penultimate lap. He finished 16th, while his teammate finished an impressive P8.
An eventful Saudi Grand Prix
Zhou was able to better his teammate in qualifying and started the race two places ahead of the veteran Finn in 12th. He fell behind by a place in the race and finished outside the points for the second race in a row. The only plus point from the race was that Bottas had a stinker of a race and finished dead last.
A better weekend for the team
In the Australian Grand Prix, both Alfa Romeos were knocked out in Q1 but fared much better in the race. Zhou earned his first points of the season with a P8 finish, while Bottas finished just outside the points.
A weekend to forget in Baku
Zhou had a spin in qualifying and lost time as a result,and he failed to make it out of Q1 again. He would start from 16thon the grid on Sunday. The sprint day wasn’t anything to brag about either, with uneventful sessions and no takeaways. Zhou had to retire from the race on lap 39 after mechanical issues, and that brought an end to a weekend he wouldn’t want to remember.
Miami: Another uneventful weekend
In the star-studded Miami Grand Prix, Zhou was looking to improve after his disastrous weekend in Baku. He was unfortunately eliminated in Q1 for the third race in a row while his teammate made it to Q3, and his race was truly a very forgettable one, with just a few passes on a few backmarker cars on his way to finishing 16th.
Subscribe to Punditfeed on Google News for all the latest updates from the world of sports!