Formula 1

Zhou: “Open” Bottas best team-mate for rookie F1 year

Zhou will become China’s first F1 race driver in 2022 after signing a contract to step up from F2 with the Alfa Romeo team.

He will line up alongside race winner Bottas, who switched to the Hinwil squad after a five-year spell at Mercedes.

The pair had their first experience working together at last year’s post-season Abu Dhabi F1 tyre test.

Despite knowing how good Bottas is after helping Mercedes to multiple constructors’ championship titles, Zhou thinks being up against the Finn is a huge plus for him.

“For a rookie, there is no better option than to have Bottas as your team-mate in your first season,” said Zhou during a recent interview on social media.

“If I’m going to beat him, I know I need to work very hard and adapt very quickly to the whole of F1, and to the new car, from the very beginning.

“But I think what’s more important is that he can help me get through the learning curve. He is a very open driver. He shares his information and discusses with the team and with me, which is a very helpful point.

“After all, he’s had so many podiums and wins in F1. Among all the drivers, there are only a few who can outqualify Hamilton, and he is one of them.

“I think he’s a great reference and a very strong team-mate. I hope to improve together with him next year.”

Guanyu Zhou, Alfa Romeo Racing

Guanyu Zhou, Alfa Romeo Racing

Photo by: Jerry Andre / Motorsport Images

Zhou, who finished third in F2 last year with five wins, has made the headlines in China since being confirmed to race in F1 last November.

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Asked about his goal in his first F1 season, the 22-year-old made it clear that he is determined to bring home points for his team.

“First of all, I set a small goal to get points,” said Zhou. “I don’t know how competitive the car will be next season. We need to wait until the beginning of the season to get a clear picture.

“Personally, I would like to get points. But at the beginning of the season, I won’t be thinking if it will be achievable at the first two races; just not to have too much pressure.

“I want to enjoy racing in F1, to learn from my team-mate and the engineers, and improve myself in all aspects.

“When I make improvement in all areas, the results will then naturally come.”

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