Guanyu Zhou will become the first Chinese driver in Formula One after it was announced he will race for Alfa Romeo next season.
Zhou, 22, replaces Antonio Giovinazzi and joins Valtteri Bottas in a new-look line-up at the Italian team in 2022.
His deal completes the grid for next year’s F1 campaign.
— Alfa Romeo Racing ORLEN (@alfaromeoracing) November 16, 2021
Zhou is second in the Formula Two championship heading into the final two rounds of F1’s feeder series.
“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,” said Zhou.
“It is a privilege for me to start my Formula One racing career with an iconic team, a team that has introduced so much young talent into Formula One in the past.
2022 @alfaromeoracing F1 Driver!
A kid’s dream come true…First Chinese 🇨🇳 F1 driver.
— 周冠宇 | Guanyu Zhou 🇨🇳 (@gyzhou_33) November 16, 2021
“Now the dream is reality. I feel well prepared for the immense challenge of Formula One, the pinnacle of my sport, alongside a proven, world-class talent in Valtteri Bottas.
“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 One 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.”
Zhou could bring as much as £20million in Chinese backing to Alfa Romeo. F1 recently announced an extension to race in China until 2025.
The departing Giovinazzi, 27, who has driven for Alfa Romeo since 2019, tweeted: “F1 is emotion, talent, cars, risk, speed. But when money rules it can be ruthless.
“I believe in the surprise of an unexpected result, of big or small victories achieved thanks to one’s commitment.”