- Guanyue Zhou became China’s first F1 driver as he completed the 2022 grid by signing for Alfa Romeo.
- The 22-year-old will be a partner of F2 driver Valtteri Bottas, who is joining Mercedes.
- Antonio Giovinazzi left Alfa after three years with the team.
Guanue Zhou is replacing Antonio Giovinazzi for 2022 and will partner with Valtteri Bottas at Alfa Romeo, completing the grid for a new era of Formula 1.
Zhou, a highly-rated prospect in Formula 2, will become the first full-time Chinese F1 driver and also ensures that Alfa, currently ranked ninth in the championship, has a brand new driver line-up next year.
Bottas is the team’s big signing from Mercedes for 2022, with Kimi Raikkonen’s record-breaking F1 career leading up to his final three races.
Just before Zhou was confirmed, the Italian outfit thanked Giovinazzi for his “extraordinary contributions” over the three years, but they did not do enough to deter the team from choosing the 22-year-old “trailblazer”, who had left the reserve for Alpine. as tested. The driver and will be the only rookie on next year’s grid.
“Becoming the first Chinese driver in Formula 1 is a breakthrough for Chinese motorsport history,” said Zhou.
“I dreamed from a young age of climbing as much as I could in a sport that I’m passionate about and now that dream has come true.”
Team boss Friedrich Vasseur said: “He is a very talented driver, as his results in F2 have shown, and we look forward to helping his talents flourish even more in Formula 1.
Alpha picks youth to complete 2022 grid
Giovinazzi joined Alfa Romeo in 2019 as a Ferrari-backed driver and has shown improvement with the team without apparent stardom in front of Charles Leclerc.
Giovinazzi, 27, has ousted Raikkonen this year but still has fewer points than the experienced Finn and in his 57 races in F1, finished in the top-10 only eight times with a best fifth at the 2019 Brazilian GP Has happened.
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His exit leaves F1 without an Italian driver.
Alfa’s signing of Zhou, meanwhile, is another F1 show of confidence in a talented young crop of drivers.
Zhou has competed in the F2 feeder series for the past three seasons, ranking 7th in 2019, 6th in 2020, while he is currently second only to fellow alpine junior Oscar Piastri in the 2021 standings.
He has won four races in that time, three of which are coming up this year.
His arrival also completes the grid with all 10 teams having confirmed their two-driver line-up for a season that will welcome brand new rules and all-new cars.
Alpha is one of only three teams changing their line-up. Mercedes has replaced Bottas with George Russell, while Williams has drafted in Alex Albon to fill that spot.
There are three races left in the 2021 season, starting with the Qatar GP later this week, which will go live on Sky Sports F1.