Forward of this weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix, it was introduced that Alfa had taken up its choice for Zhou’s continued companies into 2023 after he made his F1 debut on the season-opening Bahrain race – scoring factors there after which placing in a string of spectacular performances.
The affirmation of Zhou’s rookie deal was broadly anticipated within the paddock given his early F1 profession success, however the dramatic 2022 driver market foolish season meant his seat alongside Valtteri Bottas for subsequent 12 months was unofficially listed as open for contenders in search of new F1 houses, comparable to soon-to-be-ex-McLaren driver Daniel Ricciardo.
When requested by Autosport – at an occasion held at Alfa sponsor Puma’s primary Singapore retailer – if persevering with along with his present group was ever unsure, Zhou replied: “To be sincere, no.
“I imply, there’s a doubt in the beginning of the season as a result of I didn’t know the way my first rookie season would go. However, truly, it went fairly easy.
“The group could be very pleased with the targets we had been capable of obtain. And in addition exhibiting potential – primarily from my driving.
“Midway via I felt like there was a excessive likelihood to proceed with the group.
“So, lastly to proceed with Alfa being introduced right here in Singapore was superb. And [I’m] actually wanting ahead to all the brand new challenges we’re going to be dealing with.”
Zhou Guanyu, Alfa Romeo C42
Photograph by: Alessio Morgese
Alfa group boss Frederic Vasseur has additionally defined the way it was “by no means one single factor” that satisfied his squad persevering with with Zhou was its greatest choice to associate Bottas, however slightly a mix of Zhou’s achievements.
“The goal was clear at first that collectively we needed to do some Q2 [results],” stated Vasseur.
“On the finish from the primary race he was capable of get into Q2 and scored the purpose.
“He did some Q3 [results] and even in Monza he was capable of once more struggle for Q3. It means he has stepped up.
“Outdoors of the automotive he’s additionally doing a implausible job when it comes to the collaboration with the group and his team-mate.
“And on the manufacturing facility, [he’s] making an attempt to get additional motivation from each worker. I feel he’s doing the job. I’m very happy and proud by the job Zhou has finished to this point.”
Whereas Zhou has made a powerful begin to life in F1, his six-point tally from the 16 races to this point is 40 behind Bottas’s haul over the identical interval, with early-season reliability dramas hindering the rookie in the course of the interval when Alfa had the higher hand over a lot of its midfield opposition.
This benefit was largely all the way down to the C42 being the one automotive to begin the season on the minimal weight restrict, which meant its benefits had been then eroded when different groups had been capable of lighten their machines.
“We had some points when it comes to reliability,” Vasseur stated of Zhou’s factors tally in comparison with Bottas.
“The worst second for him most likely was when he was preventing for factors in Miami on the early stage of the season [and then retired with a water pump issue].
“It was a disgrace, however the season is lengthy, his profession is lengthy [and] we now have to give attention to the long run.
“He is aware of he has to enhance in some areas and it’s not at all times simple going within the season in F1.
“And on the finish, he’s doing an excellent job that we all know it’s an extended course of and step-by-step he’s there.”