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First ever Chinese Formula One driver to debut in 2022 season

First ever Chinese Formula One driver to debut in 2022 season

The Alpha Romeo team has agreed to sign Guanyo Zhou as a driver for the 2022 Formula One championship. Zhou will replace Italian driver Antonio Giovinazzi as one of the two-member Alpha Romeo driving team alongside Valterri Bottas who currently races for Mercedes. He will become the first Chinese F1 driver in the history of F1.

The Alpha-Romeo statement paints Zhou as a "a trailblazer who will write a pivotal page of his country's motorsport history."

"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," Alfa Romeo quoted Zhou, who was educated in Britain, as saying. "It is a privilege for me to start my Formula 1 racing career with an iconic team, a team that has introduced so much young talent into Formula 1 in the past. Now the dream is reality."

Zhou is currently placed second in the Formula 2 championship, where he is 36 points behind leader Oscar Piastri, first debuting in the Ferrari Driver Academy, then with Renault/Alpine, whose programme he joined in 2019. The young Chinese driver will also bring in hopes of untapped Chinese sponsors, as interest in the sport grows in the Chinese heartland. F1 has already extended their race contract with China that will see the Shanghai International Circuit on calendars until 2025.

Alpha-Romeo head Fred Vasseur said that Zhou's entry could provide new impetus for the team and the sport as a whole.

"It's great on a sporting performance side and a commercial side," he said. "It's a huge opportunity, for the team and the sport... It will be a challenge [for him]. To start in F1 is never easy...For the team and even for F1, it's a huge opportunity to have a Chinese driver onboard. I take it as an opportunity for everybody."

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TAGS:China Formula One Sports world Championship Motorsports 
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