Zhou Guanyu will remain with Alfa Romeo for his third Formula One season after the team announced an unchanged 2024 line-up on Thursday. Here’s what you need to know.
- Zhou became China’s first F1 driver when he debuted for Alfa Romeo in 2022, scoring six points in his rookie season.
- Talks took place in recent weeks over extending his contract by a further year, leading to an announcement ahead of the Singapore Grand Prix.
- Zhou will continue to partner with veteran teammate Valtteri Bottas in 2024.
The Athletic’s analysis
Alfa Romeo’s decision to continue with an unchanged line-up in 2024 comes as no surprise. Zhou has continued to be an even match for Bottas, a proven grand prix winner at Mercedes, meaning there was little reason for the team to look elsewhere.
Although the points return from both drivers this year have been limited (Bottas has six points; Zhou has four) it is mainly due to the car’s performance. Alfa Romeo has been stuck in the lower-midfield battle with Williams, Haas and AlphaTauri, making top 10s hard to come by.
Zhou battled to ninth in Australia and Spain and qualified a career-best fifth in Hungary, showing the team he had continued his progression through his rookie campaign in 2022.
An important landmark for Zhou will arrive next April when he races in front of his home crowd at the Chinese Grand Prix for the first time. F1 has not run in Shanghai since 2019 due to Covid-19 restrictions.
2024 will be an essential year for the team. Its relationship with Alfa Romeo will end ahead of becoming Audi’s manufacturer F1 team in 2026, with a return of the Sauber name likely.
But it will also be crucial for the team to show it can make a step up F1’s competitive order. It has struggled to keep up with many of its midfield rivals for car development in the past year, causing it to slip down the competitive order.
Should the team make that step forward, then it will be up to Zhou and Bottas to capitalize on the chances that come their way and prove to Audi why they should be part of its long-term plans for the team.
What Zhou said
“I’m very happy to be continuing with Alfa Romeo team. The work has been done in the past, and the chats between the team have been going well and transparent,” said Zhou.
“I’m just happy to be able to announce in Singapore. I’m really happy and excited for where the team is heading and to be taking more into this project in the future.”
Zhou Guanyu’s wait for his debut home race hasn’t slowed his start as China’s first F1 driver
(Photo: Qian Jun/MB Media/Getty Images)