REPORTS: One Major Obstacle Preventing Guanyu Zhou From 2022 F1 Drive

Published 09/18/2021, 2:54 PM EDT
Race winner Guanyu Zhou (CHN) Uni-Virtuosi Racing celebrates on the podium. 18.07.2021. FIA Formula 2 Championship, Rd 4, Feature Race, Silverstone, England, Sunday. – www.xpbimages.com, EMail: requests@xpbimages.com Copyright: XPB Images


The month of September began with frantic movement in the driver’s market for the 2022 season. Almost two weeks after Alfa Romeo announced Valtteri Bottas as their driver for next year, the Italian outfit only need to confirm their second seat. Although Antonio Giovinazzi looks to be improving, Chinese driver Guanyu Zhou is his biggest threat.

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And according to recent reports, only one aspect stands between the 22-year-old and an F1 drive next season.

F1 super license currently halts Guanyu Zhou from 2022 drive

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Over the last few years, Zhou enjoyed steady growth in Formula racing. Since joining the Alpine academy in 2019, the Chinese driver finished seventh in the 2019 F2 championship, and followed it up with a sixth-place finish last year. This season, he sits second in F2, 15 points behind Oscar Piastri.

In addition, he also got his first experience in an F1 car earlier this year, when he took part in the first practice session at the Austrian Grand Prix, replacing Fernando Alonso. To compete in F1, every driver needs a super license which they gain through a points system. Currently, Zhou has 29 points out of the 40 required to gain that license.

18 of those points come from his finishes in the previous F2 championships, while 10 came from his victory in the F3 Asia series late last year. He also gained another point by taking part in FP1 at the Red Bull Ring. He only needs a fifth place finish in F2 this season to get the required points.

The issue he might face difficulties getting those points before tests in December. This is because he would need to secure fifth mathematically before those tests, which might not happen despite three races left.

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After COVID-19 affected the sport, the FIA introduced a rule where in extreme situations, they would consider drivers accumulating 30 points for a super license. Hence, Zhou would only need to finish 10th in the ongoing F2 championship to procure his super license.

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While Zhou looks to get the job done, Alfa Romeo Team Principal Frederic Vasseur mentioned him as a prime candidate mainly because of his talent.

Formula One F1 – Spanish Grand Prix – Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain – May 7, 2021 Alfa Romeo Racing Team Principal Frederic Vasseur talks in the Team Principals Press Conference FIA/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS – THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES

As quoted by Motorsport, he said, “Zhou is doing a good job in F2. For sure he is on the list, and not just for a matter of nationality. He is one of the big favorites to take the title in F2, he has won races and I think every single team in F1 is watching his path.”

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Could we see the end of Giovinazzi‘s time with Alfa Romeo this year? Or is there some hope left for the Italian?

WATCH STORY: 5 F1 Crashes Which Stunned the World

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Sanket Nair

797 articles

Sanket Nair is an F1 Author at EssentiallySports. A Sports Management graduate, he is a huge fan of Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo and hopes to see Red Bull break Mercedes' dominance and win the World Championship soon. Sanket has been hooked to the sport ever since he watched the battle for the 2010 World Championship go down to the wire at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

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