Austrian Grand Prix: Guanyu Zhou to Take Fernando Alonso’s Alpine F1 Seat for FP1

Published 06/28/2021, 9:35 AM EDT
Formula One F1 – Emilia Romagna Grand Prix – Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari, Imola, Italy – April 15, 2021 Alpine’s Fernando Alonso in the FIA Press Conference FIA/Handout via REUTERS


Chinese driver Guanyu Zhou, who currently competes in the Formula 2 Championship for Virtuosi Racing, is set to make his debut at the Austrian Grand Prix. Replacing Fernando Alonso in Free Practice 1 at the Red Bull Ring, he will become the first Chinese driver in eight years to take part in a Free Practice in F1.

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Zhou is a part of the Alpine Academy and presently serves as the test driver for the Enstone-based team. And he will finally get his first taste of the 2021 F1 machinery this weekend, driving a two-time world champion‘s car.

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The 22-year-old has already secured two victories in F2 at Monaco and Bahrain and currently sits top of the driver’s standings with 78 points.

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Dream come true: Guanyu Zhou on replacing Fernando Alonso for FP1

“Driving in FP1 at a Formula 1 Grand Prix weekend is like a dream coming true and another step closer to my ultimate goal of becoming a Formula 1 driver,” said the F2 championship leader ahead of the Austrian GP.

“It’s going to be a very special moment. I’m preparing myself as much as I can to be ready and also ensure that I’m able to complete all the targets and plans that the team have set me to do,” he added.

“There have not been many Chinese drivers in Formula 1, so to be behind the wheel of an F1 car during a race weekend is going to be a very proud feeling.

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Formula One F1 – French Grand Prix – Circuit Paul Ricard, Le Castellet, France – June 18, 2021. Alpine’s Fernando Alonso during practice REUTERS/Yves Herman.

“It’s going to be even more special that I’m driving Fernando’s car as he inspired me to pursue a career in racing when I was young. added Guanyu Zhou.

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Guanyu Zhou will only be the second Chinese driver ever to feature in Formula 1. Ma Qinghua previously appeared in five practice sessions between 2012 and 2013.

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Pingaksh Sharma

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