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Zhou: I don't want to be in F1 for the sake of it

NEWS STORY
28/02/2022

With the hopes of a nation resting on his shoulders, 2022's only rookie is determined to prove he has a place in F1.

Being China's F1 racer is a huge burden for Guanyu Zhou to shoulder, after all, his success or failure could well decide whether some of the country's biggest corporations opt to follow him.

As if being the first Chinese driver, Zhou is also 2022's only rookie, thereby placing additional pressure on the 22-year-old.

However, he is determined to prove himself.

"To be the only rookie on the 2022 Formula 1 grid, of course there's a little bit of pressure but it doesn't really get to me," he insists.

"I felt more pressure last season," he adds, referring to F1 where he finished third overall, "there's too many people watching me, eyes on me in my Formula 2 campaign.

"That was a lot of pressure but I think I dealt with that pretty well," he continues. "All these years of racing I was able to adapt with myself, mentality-wise, adapting with different situations. But in general, Formula 1 is a new experience, a new water which I have to get used to, especially at the beginning. I'm ready to follow all these rookies from last year, trying to beat them, trying to develop my energy on track.

Though the only rookie, Zhou can take some comfort from the fact that the rules overhaul means a re-set for everyone.

"We are at the beginning of a new era with new cars and new regulations, and this creates an opportunity for all teams to make progress since we are all starting from scratch," he says.

"Everyone at Alfa Romeo has been incredibly helpful since I joined, and seeing all the hard work, the commitment and motivation from everyone, in Hinwil and at the track, fills me with pride and excitement. I can't wait to be on the grid with this car and work with my team to bring home the results we are targeting together."

Reflecting on the Barcelona test, where he completed the most laps of the Alfa drivers on duty, posting the 16th best time of the test, he is asked about the porpoising issue which appeared to affect the C42 more than most. "From day two, there was already quite a bit of improvement from day one from the feedback we got," he replies.

"Of course, the problem is still there a little bit for all the teams, and I think that's the biggest limitation with the new car for everyone. We just have to find a way around it which provide us with as much downforce as possible, and also reduce the bouncing on the brakes, but in terms of safety, there should be no problem.

"From the personal side, firstly I want to show my ability," he adds, "I think that's what's very important. I'm ready to be putting my feet in F1, trying to explore everything I have, and then as a family at Alfa Romeo to be a family of friends with your mechanics, engineers, the staff and also team-mate, is a very important part of motorsport.

"That will help us move together. Spending so much time around the world in a season, in the factory, it's very important that side.

"I don't want to be in F1 for the sake of being here," he insists. "I want to be here, to be proving myself, to be making my country and all the people supporting me proud.

"I want to do well in F1. This season, try to get some point finishes, together working with my team-mate Valtteri I want to be helping or moving the team forward."

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by Max Noble, 01/03/2022 12:28

"Personally I’d be there for the sake of it; and I’d race for free, just travel expenses…"

Rating: Neutral (0)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

2. Posted by meatball, 28/02/2022 20:03

"He'll either be "rookie of the year" or sharing an uber to the airport with Maz"

Rating: Positive (1)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

3. Posted by elsiebc, 28/02/2022 17:29

"Don't fret the pressure, Zhou. You won't be there long. After China attacks Taiwan everybody will be calling for your removal, too."

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