Alfa Romeo driver, Zhou Guanyu, is the first full-time Chinese driver in Formula 1, but his future in the sport has been thrown into doubt. Guanyu is apparently struggling with his finances which is opening the door for another driver with significant sponsor backing to take his place, namely Mick Schumacher. At least that’s what the rumours are suggesting.
F1 journalist, Joe Saward, has suggested that despite Guanyu doing a “very decent job”, his “lack of budget” might see Schumacher take his seat.
“The only real option as far as I can see is for the team to try to get some money from Germany for Mick Schumacher, as it is clear that he has no future at Mercedes beyond being a smiling face with a famous name,” wrote Saward.
Saward puts forward Schumacher’s name, but he isn’t the only driver in contention. There’s also F2 champion and Aston Martin reserve driver, Felipe Drugovich and Alfa Romeo’s own protégé, Theo Pourchaire.
Zhou Guanyu Denies Rumours: "I Don't Feel I'm Lacking Any Foundations on That Side"
Despite the rumours, Guanyu has said that he is close to landing another deal and hopes to be with the team for a few years more.
“It’s a little bit [more] delayed than I expected,” Guanyu explained. “But I think it’s just due to me, together with Alfa Romeo, trying to figure out these final details.
“In terms of, let’s say, ‘Why don’t you sign?’ I still have no answer to that. But we’re definitely talking more into that and getting more close to being done.
“I’m happy to be together, spending more and more years together with this team. The future is bright for where the team is heading.”
In terms of cash, Guanyu doesn’t know why there’s rumours regarding him not having any.
“I have personal sponsors and I don’t know the rumours, but I don’t feel I’m lacking any foundations on that side.
“It’s not like the first contract you have in Formula 1 – everything’s up to the team. The second one is a bit more into details.
“Nothing to be worried about majorly. I don’t feel like what I show on track doesn’t deserve to continue being in this paddock.”
Guanyu currently sits at 17th in the Drivers’ Championship on four points, just behind his teammate Valtteri Bottas in 16th on six points. His pace over one-lap is comparable to Bottas’ with the deficit sitting only at 0.129 seconds, the fourth best deficit on the entire grid. The only reason to remove Guanyu would be due to a lack of funds as Alfa Romeo’s budget tightens before the team becomes Audi, but it would make sense for the team to choose stability and security before their big change in 2026.