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Guanyu Zhou Profile
Guanyu Zhou is a racing driver from Shanghai, China, born on May 30, 1999. He is the first full-time driver on the Formula 1 grid to hail from China.
Beginning his link to Formula 1 as a member of the Ferrari Driver Academy, Zhou later switched to the Renault programme, which became Alpine Academy for 2021, creating the pathway to his first Formula 1 drive with Alfa Romeo, earning himself a place in their 2022 line-up off the back of his P3 finish in the 2021 F2 Championship.
Zhou carries a unique pull factor, with Alfa Romeo deciding to cash in on the potential huge market of China by placing a driver from the nation on the grid.
He was also the first recipient of the Anthoine Hubert Award, recognising him as the highest-placed rookie for his debut F2 season in 2019.
He also has a very keen interest in fashion - maybe we will see a collaboration with Lewis Hamilton one day?
Guanyu Zhou Career
With Antonio Giovinazzi's future at Alfa Romeo in doubt, Guanyu Zhou became the favourite to replace the Italian for the 2022 season.
Ultimately, that is exactly what happened, with Alfa Romeo confirming Zhou for 2022, a move which sparked an emotional response from Giovinazzi, who felt that that the team's choice was motivated solely by money.
Zhou formed half of an all-new Alfa Romeo line-up for 2022, partnering ex-Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas.
Zhou would select the number 24 to race with in Formula 1, a tribute to his sporting hero Kobe Bryant.
Guanyu Zhou Before F1
After attending the first Chinese Grand Prix in his home city of Shanghai back in 2004, supporting Fernando Alonso, Zhou was hooked on racing and set about emulating his hero.
Zhou began karting at the age of eight in China, but moved to Sheffield, England in 2012 to compete in a more competitive environment, linking up with Strawberry Racing.
The following year Zhou was hitting his stride, winning both the Super 1 National Rotax Max Junior Championship and Rotax Max Euro Challenge.
2014 proved to be his final year of karting, at which point he had captured the attention of Ferrari, who midway through that year added him to their junior driver ranks.
Zhou progressed through Formula 4 and Formula 3 without taking a title, with Ferrari dropping him from their programme after 2018, at which point Renault stepped in, signing him to the Renault Sport Academy and having him serve as a development driver for the Formula 1 team.
Zhou would progress to Formula 2 for 2019, winning the first-ever Anthoine Hubert Award in recognition of him being the best-performing rookie.
With Uni-Virtuosi he claimed five podium finishes, as well as pole position, ending the season P7 in the standings.
Remaining with the team for 2020, he tasted F2 victory for the first time after winning the Sprint Race in Russia, claiming another five podiums across that season as he improved to P6 in the final Drivers' Championship.
As Renault morphed into Alpine for 2021, Zhou was retained under the Alpine Academy banner, delivering his breakout F2 campaign in a third and final season with Uni-Virtuosi.
Storming out of the blocks, Zhou claimed two race wins and a podium across the opening four races, but collected only two further wins that season, admitting to feeling the pressure of Alfa Romeo's watching eyes.
But relieved of it once they confirmed his spot in their line-up for 2022, Zhou's result picked up again, ending the season with a Sprint Race win and Feature Race P2 in Abu Dhabi.
Guanyu Zhou Net Worth
Zhou's net worth is reported to be around £700,000 to £1.1m, though that is expected to rise now that he is a Formula 1 driver. That being said, the finances of his Alfa Romeo contract are unknown.
A large chunk of Zhou's earnings come from his sponsors, of which he has no shortage.
The Chinese racer has been sponsored by Swiss luxury watchmaker Hublot since 2018, promoting the brand through his social media channels and attending various events.
He also gives plenty of social media exposure to gaming equipment company Playseat, for whom he serves as a brand ambassador, as well as sim-racing hardware brand Fanatec, who have sponsored Zhou since 2019.
German apparel brand Puma also get plenty of promotion on Zhou's social channels.
It was reported that Zhou's army of sponsors were willing to pay €30million to get Zhou onto the F1 grid, and though that was never confirmed, Alfa Romeo did say that they had been flooded with proposals as a result of Zhou's signature.
Guanyu Zhou Family
Zhou is rumoured to come from a very wealthy family, who it is believed made their fortune in the car business.
Details on his private life though are kept very closely guarded.
No information has been made public about any siblings that Zhou may or may not have, while it is also unknown whether he is in a relationship.