Guanyu Zhou to become the FIRST Chinese driver in F1 history as Alfa Romeo announce he will replace Antonio Giovinazzi in 2022
- Alfa Romeo have announced Guanyu Zhou will replace Antonio Giovinazzi
- Zhou will become the first Chinese driver in F1 history when he makes his debut
- He will partner Lewis Hamilton’s current team-mate Valtteri Bottas
- Bottas replaces fellow Finn Kimi Raikkonen who will retire from the sport
Alfa Romeo have confirmed that Guanyu Zhou will become the first Chinese driver in Formula One history when he races for the team in 2022.
The current Formula Two title contender will replace Antonio Giovinazzi as part of an all new driver line-up, alongside current Mercedes star Valtteri Bottas who was announced earlier this year.
Zhou has been favourite to land the job for some time, helped by the commercial support that he brings with him.
Formula Two title contender Guanyu Zhou will drive for Alfa Romeo in the 2022 season
He will partner Valtteri Bottas (centre) who is being replaced at Mercedes by George Russell
The 22-year-old said: ‘I dreamt from a young age of climbing as high as I can in a sport that I am passionate about and now the dream has come true.
‘To be the first ever Chinese driver in Formula One is a breakthrough for Chinese motorsport history.’
Zhou will cut his ties with Alpine, having been part of their junior programme since 2019, when the team were under the Renault name.
He is currently in his third season of Formula Two and is second in the championship behind Australian Oscar Piastri – who has been announced on Tuesday as Alpine’s reserve driver for next season.
Giovinazzi (right) will leave Formula One at the end of the year after three seasons with Alfa
The Chinese driver will make his on-track debut with Alfa in the Abu Dhabi young driver test in December after the final race of the season.
Alfa Romeo team principal Fred Vasseur told Autosport: ‘We have a big change in terms of regulations for 2022. We evaluated all the options that we had on the table. Valtteri was quite obvious for me. And alongside Valtteri, we had different options, and for tons of different reasons, Zhou is the first choice.
‘It’s never one thing. Performance is not based on one single pillar, it’s always a combination of speed, collaboration with the team, collaboration with the teammate, the financial side. And for the development of the company, I think it’s a good step forward.’
Zhou will face a tough test next season alongside the experienced Bottas who has won ten races during his five-year stint at Mercedes.
Bottas meanwhile replaces fellow Finn Kimi Raikkonen who is to retire at the end of the season
Mercedes decided to part ways with Bottas for next season after five years alongside Lewis Hamilton.
He will be replaced by Williams driver George Russell who has come through the Mercedes junior driver programme.
With all seats now taken for 2022, Antonio Giovinazzi will leave F1 at the end of the season, though he may still have a reserve role due to his links with Ferrari.
Giovinazzi’s team-mate and 2007 champion Kimi Raikkonen also leaves the sport at the end of the season – 20 years after making his debut.