Despite the doubts surrounding Zhou Guanyu’s calibre at the end of last year’s Formula 2 campaign, the rookie has surpassed expectations and earned respect from drivers and fans alike.
It would be a stretch to say the Chinese driver has set F1 alight this season. His qualifying record against teammate Valtteri Bottas – whilst not unacceptable – is still well below average. However, when considering the skill of his Finnish teammate, this record is nothing to be ashamed of, especially in light of his generally competitive race pace.
According to Switt outlet blick.ch, Zhou Guanyu can expect to continue with Alfa Romeo in 2023, denying Sauber academy driver Theo Pourchaire an opportunity in F1.
Before this season began, some speculated that Theo Pourchaire would be well placed to replace Zhou for the 2023 season.
However, both Theo Pourchaire and Zhou Guanyu have played a part in changing this narrative. Zhou, for his part, has performed at a reasonable level, dismantling the hyperbolic criticisms hurled toward him before arriving in Formula 1.
This is not to say that Zhou’s performances have been outstanding or without fault, but given the struggles and downright failures of rookies in F1 over the last few seasons, the Chinese driver is making a good account of himself.
Theo Pourchaire, meanwhile, has not lived up to the hype in Formula 2 this season. Running second in the standings is nothing to be ashamed of, but he is part of “the rest” in F2 who find themselves far behind the Brazilian driver Felipe Drugovich, dominating the series.
Pourchaire has shown some reasonable pace, but nothing impressive enough to give Alfa Romeo a difficult decision for their upcoming driver pairing.
Zhou Guanyu offers a variety of benefits for the team commercially, attracting a host of new sponsors and helping the Alfa Romeo brand grow internationally. With this in mind, it is difficult to imagine the 23-year-old anywhere but the Swiss team for the upcoming 2023 season.