Guanyu Zhou will become the first ever full-time Chinese driver in Formula One when he starts up with Alfa Romeo in 2022. However, people are beginning to ask, “Why did he really get that seat?”
Most of the vitriol hasn’t been aimed at Guanyu Zhou himself, but at Alfa Romeo. This is due in part to the apparent ‘dumping’ of current driver, Antonio Giovinazzi.
Giovinazzi went to Instagram to announce the news that he had been dropped,
This caused a roar of support for Gio from the F1 fans. On Alfa Romeo’s own Instagram announcement, one of the most liked comments was, “BASTARDI”.
According to F1, insiders have stated that interest in backing Zhou from Chinese companies has increased in the last 18 months due to his increasingly good performances in F2.
This has then got people asking the question, “Why isn’t Oscar Piastri, the man currently about win the championship in F2, getting an F1 seat?”
It’s a fair question.
The reason has been given up to speculation. Rumours have stated that Zhou was armed with a sponsorship of $30 million USD in order to get a seat in F1. This money has been rumoured to have come from the before mentioned Chinese companies.
However, team principal of Alfa Romeo, Frédéric Vasseur told GPFans Global that, “The numbers you give, it is pure speculation and b******t.”
We cannot say what is really going on of course but the public sentiment has been clear.
Some of this may be due to anti-Chinese sentiment but it seems that most of the backlash is a result of Alfa Romeo’s apparent “money over talent” way of racing. That seems far too simple as the team clearly gave Gio a shot to prove whether or not he had what it takes to improve in F1. He had some spectacular qualifying bouts in Zandvoort and Monza but come race day he had either crashed or dropped way back down the grid
Others will say that isn’t fair as the Alfa package isn’t all that competitive in 2021 – also true, they are coming ninth and Kimi Raikkonen isn’t doing much with the car either and he’s a former World Champion.
Regardless, this is what is happening and I for one am curious to see what Zhou can do at Alfa Romeo. Actually, I’m just curious if Alfa Romeo will even be competitive next year at all.
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