UNI-Virtuosi Formula 2 racer Guanyu Zhou will become the team’s first Formula 1 graduate, with Alfa Romeo Racing announcing that he will drive for them in the 2022 campaign alongside Valtteri Bottas.
The 22-year-old will become the first Chinese driver to race in F1, making the step up after three years in F2 with UNI-Virtuosi.
He made his F2 debut in the 2019 season and finished seventh with one pole position and five podiums, winning the Anthoine Hubert award for highest placed rookie.
Remaining with UNI-Virtuosi for the following season, Zhou finished sixth in 2020 with one pole position and six podiums, including one win, making him the first Chinese driver to win on an F1 race weekend.
Guanyu Zhou started the 2021 campaign by winning a Feature Race for the first time and led the Drivers’ Championship standings for much of the season.
Wins at Monaco and Silverstone take his overall tally to four, with an incredible 18 podiums in total, as well as three poles and seven fastest laps. Scoring 433.5 points overall, Zhou ranks as the fourth highest scoring F2 driver of all time.
Zhou made his F1 debut earlier in the season, taking over Fernando Alonso’s A521 for FP1 in Spielberg, making him just the second driver from mainland China to take part in an official F1 session, and the first in eight years.
Zhou is currently second in the table with 142 points with two rounds to go, the first in Jeddah on December 3-4, before the season finale in Abu Dhabi the following weekend.
2021 UNI-Virtuosi driver and 2022 Alfa Romeo Racing driver Guanyu Zhou said:
"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. 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.
"I feel well prepared for the immense challenge of Formula 1, the pinnacle of my sport, alongside a proven, world-class talent in Valtteri Bottas. I wish to thank the Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN team for this opportunity. Next year the target will be to learn as much as possible and as quickly as possible. To be the first ever Chinese driver in Formula 1 is a breakthrough for Chinese motorsport history. I know a lot of hopes will be resting on me and, as ever, I will take this as motivation to become better and achieve more.”
A MESSAGE FROM THE TEAM
“During the past three years, we have had the pleasure to watch Guanyu Zhou develop his talents and become a driver worthy of a Formula 1 seat. We have celebrated an incredible 18 podiums together, including four wins, and still have two more rounds to add to that tally."
"Congratulations, Joey. We are incredibly proud of you and we wish you the best of luck in Formula 1.”