Kobe Bryant Inspires F1 Sensation to Choose #24 on His Car: “I Want to Carry His Energy, His Mentality With Me in My Journey in Formula 1.”

Published 01/02/2022, 9:24 AM EST
The Lakers Kobe Bryant watches the game slip away during their 109-95 loss to the Clippers on Sunday afternoon at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. (Photo by Rick Loomis/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)


Guanyu Zhou is the latest addition to the F1 grid and is ready to dominate the series. And how do we know this? Zhou, who raced with the number 3 in F2, has changed his number to a very prominent one, with more meaning behind it.

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As a basketball fan, there may be one obvious man to look up to: Kobe Bryant. Thus, Zhou dedicates his Formula 1 career to the Lakers legend as he takes on Bryant’s jersey number as his racing number. “I get inspired by him when I was a little kid.”

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Threatening to charge through the field with Bryant’s ‘Mamba Mentality,’ Zhou looks to emulate the basketball icon. “I feel the energy, I want to carry his energy, his mentality with me in my journey in Formula 1.”

Thus, the number 24 is now up on the F1 roster, as the Chinese driver looks to make history in the sport. Having showcased his incredible talents in F2, with a stunning P3 in the driver’s championship, Alfa Romeo may have a star in their hands. With Kobe Bryant as his inspiration, Zhou stands as an example of his famous words. “The most important thing is to try and inspire people so that they can be great in whatever they want to do.”

Alfa Romeo F1 excited to welcome Guanyu Zhou

Bringing a rookie into your team is always difficult. Especially when Zhou will partner Mercedes’ star driver, Valtteri Bottas. Thus, Fred Vasseur shares his concerns about Zhou in the team. “It will be a challenge. To start in F1 is never easy. We have limited number of test days. But he’s talented, he’s doing well in F2…”

Nonetheless, it doesn’t water down his faith in the driver. “I think he has everything to be successful in F1. For sure it’s a challenge–a challenge for everybody.”

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Thus, Alfa Romeo hopes to improve tremendously in the 2022 season. “With one experienced driver coming from Mercedes and Zhou coming from F2, it’s a very good balance. I  know both of them well and I’m totally convinced the combination will work well.”

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With Vasseur confident in his lineup, the pairing of Bottas and Zhou seems exciting for the team. Will 2022 bring in good luck for Alfa Romeo?

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Shreya Sanjeev

776 articles

Shreya Sanjeev is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. Having attained a journalism degree from St Xavier's College, she finds comfort in the sound of her keyboard while typing and excitement in the sound of F1 cars speeding on a track. A street circuit and Daniel Ricciardo fan through and through, Shreya claims the 2018 Monaco GP to be one of her favorite races of all time.

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