WATCH: Guanyu Zhou’s Heartwarming Message to Idol Fernando Alonso After Alpine FP1 Gig for Austrian GP

Published 06/30/2021, 10:08 AM EDT
Formula One F1 – Steiermark Grand Prix – Red Bull Ring, Spielberg, Austria – June 24, 2021 Alpine’s Fernando Alonso during the press conference Pool via REUTERS/Christian Bruna

The only Chinese driver on the grid and F2 championship leader, Guanyu Zhou, will make his Formula 1 debut this weekend at the Austrian Grand Prix. Owing to his status as a member of the Alpine driver academy, he will replace the 2-time world champion and Alpine driver Fernando Alonso at the Free Practice 1.


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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

To show his excitement for his debut, the Chinese driver shared a delightful post on his social media accounts.


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Like many other motorsport driver, Zhou grew up watching Fernando Alonso race, and to be driving in place of someone you idolized as a child is understandably a dream come true for him.

Posting a picture of him cheering for the Spanish driver at the Chinese Grand Prix in 2005, Zhou wrote, “Thanks for letting me have a go, I didn’t expect that in 2005 @fernandoalo_official [laughing emoji].”


Interestingly, Alpine were considering Zhou to replace Ricciardo for the 2021 season but the French team went for the experienced Alonso.

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My aim is to maximize this opportunity: Guanyu Zhou

The Chinese driver is, understandably, very much looking forward to his debut in the Alpine car at the FP1 in Austria. This is a crucial opportunity for him as his future at the pinnacle of motorsport might depend on his performance.

Formula One F1 – Formula One – Azerbaijan Grand Prix – Baku City Circuit, Baku, Azerbaijan – June 3, 2021, Alpine’s Fernando Alonso walks the circuit with his team ahead of the Grand Prix REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov

“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,” said Zhou.

Zhou was also excited to drive Alonso’s car. “ 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. I’m very happy with my achievements so far and I’m very thankful for the support I have from those around me.

“My aim is to maximize this opportunity and I’m really looking forward to it,” said Zhou.


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Can Fernando Alonso continue his recent form at the Austrian GP?

Alonso has certainly picked up his game in the last few races. He has finished in points in Styria and France and comfortably beat his teammate, Esteban Ocon. Ocon is slowly getting back to his best as he out driving his Alpine.

The Spanish veteran would like to keep his form going into the Austrian Grand Prix. And since it’s at the Red Bull Ring yet again, he has a good chance at improving on his performance from last week.


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Can Alonso make back-to-back points finish in Austria? Comment below to let us know.


Devang Chauhan

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