By now, everyone has heard about Guanyu Zhou in the F1 world. His career path wasn't that easy, and Zhou invested a lot of blood, sweat, and tears into becoming an F1 racer.
With dreams of becoming an F1 racer back in China, Zhou's passion for motorsport never died down. However, what seemed to be impossible, slowly turned into a reality.
Zhou's dream came true as Alfa Romeo signed him to its 2022 F1 line-up.
This means that Zhou became the first-ever professional F1 player out of China. So, let's learn a bit more about his career by looking at the five most important minutes that helped the Chinese racer reach his F1 contract.
1) Debut at the Austrian Grand Prix in 2021When Zhou debuted in an official F1 event, not many people thought much of it. For many experts, it seemed like a business decision of F1 to try and attract more viewers and fans from China. After all, China is a large market regardless of which sport we're talking about.
But Guanyu Zhou proved everyone wrong and showed that he has a lot of potential as an F1 driver. Zhou drove the vehicle of Fernando Alonso and was able to finish 14th. It was an excellent result for someone who didn't compete in any F1 event until that point.
Even Alonso praised Zhou for his driving skills, which was very special to the Chinese driver because Alonso was his idol when he was a kid. Alonso went on to say how brilliantly the driver executed FP1 at the Red Bull Ring.
2) Having a great Formula 2 seasonIn the four races of 2020, Zhou finished in the top-five spots three times. In other words, it was a sign that he was getting heated up and improving his form. Luckily for him, the streak continued through 2021 and even helped him secure the first position for some time.
However, Zhou fell off in a couple of races where he didn't earn a single point. It was enough for him to drop to third place. Still, he will certainly finish in the top 3, and there is also a good chance that he might even win the championship, especially with his latest results.
The last two races can still give him the advantage over his two rivals. Given that he opened the championship with good points in Bahrain, there are good chances that he can close it in a similar fashion.
3) First-ever victory in F2You can ask any formula driver, and most of them will tell you the same thing. "Winning gives you a lot of confidence and makes you better." Every successful driver needs to win a race early on in their careers. By doing this, they get the necessary confidence to keep on pushing forward.
But more importantly, it shows them that they can do it and break the mental barrier. Indeed, this helped Zhou get his driving confidence and believe in himself not only for this championship but for his whole career.
4) A revealing rookie seasonIn his rookie season, Zhou finished 7th. However, the success of a rookie season isn't just about the final position. Throughout the whole season, Zhou showed consistency in his driving performance. He didn't win points in just four races, which is less than some more experienced drivers.
However, since he was a rookie, he made typical mistakes that cost him. But despite that, this showed that he had the consistency necessary for F1. In a way, F2 is more turbulent, and there are many "special moves" that people can see. But in F1, it's all about consistency and assessing risk.
Zhou has won the Anthoine Huber Award as the best rookie of that season.
5) Sponsorships and viewersAs you might know by now, F1 is also a business; it's not just a sport. In other words, a lot of what goes on in this sport, the teams, and with drivers, happens partly because of money. In this case, Alfa Romeo decided to go with Zhou instead of Oscar Piastri, who is currently the leader of the F2 championship.
Why? Some will say that Alfa Romeo prefers Zhou better because of his driving style. But on the other hand, many people say that it's because Chinese backers invested over $30 million in sponsorships to the team.
On the other hand, many new viewers will tune in to watch Zhou. His passionate and young attitude is sure to win the hearts of many fans. However, if certain events are not available to you in your current location, you can always connect to a VPN. A Virtual Private Network is especially useful when traveling, and you need to unblock websites for accessing your favorite content, be it sports or films.