RACE DEBRIEF

    Alfa Romeo have handed Zhou Guanyu a fresh deal that will keep China’s first full-time F1 driver at the team for 2023, alongside Valtteri Bottas.

    The 23-year-old hit the ground running by scoring a point on his debut in Bahrain and followed that up with two more points finishes, at Canada and the Italian Grand Prix.

    Alfa Romeo say they have been impressed by his “commitment and attitude” as he has displayed “levels of maturity and racecraft that belie his young age”.

    DRIVER MARKET ANALYSIS: Why Alfa Romeo retained Zhou for 2023

    The strong relationship built up with team mate Bottas – who is on a multi-year deal – also played a role in Alfa Romeo opting to give Zhou a second season.

    “I am looking forward to continuing working with Zhou,” said Alfa Romeo boss Fred Vasseur ahead of this weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix.

    GettyImages-1398674744 (1).jpg
    The relationship between Zhou and team mate Valtteri Bottas played a role in the rookie driver's new contract

    “From day one with the team, at the Abu Dhabi test last year, he has impressed me with his approach to work and this is always a very positive trait. We knew he was quick, but the way he adapted to Formula 1 in such a short time has been one of the best surprises of our season.

    “He is a very nice guy, everyone in the team likes both his personality and attitude. He has had the humility to ask questions and learn, from the engineers as well as Valtteri, and the intelligence to apply all the information he got to improve race after race.

    READ MORE: 'I went through every single thing an F1 driver goes through in 10 years' says Zhou after first half of rookie season

    “He will have this experience to draw on next season, and I am sure he will make another step forward as we continue to grow our team.”

    Zhou added: “I am happy and grateful to Alfa Romeo F1 Team for the opportunity to be part of the team for another season.

    “Making it to Formula 1 was a dream come true and the feeling of competing for the first time in a race will live with me forever: the team has been incredibly supportive, welcoming me from day one and helping me adapt to the most complex series in motorsport.

    “There is more that I want to achieve in this sport and with the team, and the hard work we have put together since the start of the year is just the first step towards where we want to be next season.

    Driver market moves and Marina Bay’s return – 5 storylines we’re excited about ahead of the Singapore GP

    “There is still a lot to learn, a lot to develop but I am confident in our work: I am looking forward to the next chapter of our story together.”

    Zhou has scored six points so far this season, compared to Bottas’ tally of 46, however it’s felt internally that tally would be much higher had he not suffered a series of mechanical problems.

    Zhou Guanyu: Meet China's first full-time F1 driver