The starting grid of the 2022 championship will see the Chinese Guanyu Zhou as the only rookie driver in Formula 1, with the 22-year-old from Shanghai expected in Alfa Romeo in the role of teammate of Valtteri Bottas. To complicate the approach to the new season, in addition to having a much more experienced driver at his side, there is above all a lower mileage at the wheel of an F1 car, made more difficult also by the introduction of the new technical regulations for the next world championship.
Despite these difficulties, the team principal of the Swiss team Frédéric Vasseur, is convinced that Zhou’s arrival – coming from Formula 2 – will bear fruit, in particular thanks to the commitment and spirit of the Asian driver: “We know that F1 is a challenge – commented the French manager in an interview edited by Dieter Rencken for racingnews365.com – also due to the fact that we will have a new car, and we have hardly faced any tests, other than three days of testing per driver. However, I believe it is a smart guy, and had a good one approach, very methodical, as he was able to demonstrate in F2. When he got to Hinwil, it was pretty polished in several respects. The level of competition in F1 is very high, and we cannot count on 25 days of pre-season testing. We will give him time to improve, for sure, without putting pressure on results ”.
Speaking of the absolute debut of a driver in F1, Vasseur mentioned several other protagonists of the current Circus who, in turn, made their debut in the top flight without a previous experience on the track with the related cars, ‘limiting themselves’ to a preparation for simulator: “If you take a look at the last two seasons – he added – seems to work for young boys. Verstappen arrived in F1 without a great background, Leclerc did well the first season, as well as Russell and Norris. Today we have different tools than in the past, but I also believe that there are a lot of young people more mature than those of twenty years ago“. Returning to Zhou, the Alfa Romeo team principal finally underlined his optimism for his potential: “I am fully convinced that we can develop the skills of a driver, and I am eager to do so. I will push hard to get the best out of him “.
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