RACE DEBRIEF

    China’s first full-time F1 driver Zhou Guanyu has signed a new deal to extend his stay at Alfa Romeo into 2024 alongside Valtteri Bottas.

    Zhou made his debut with the Sauber-run Swiss team in 2022, scoring a point on debut in Bahrain and has shown strong progress since.

    The team said his “maturity and a methodical approach” in his second year had “won him even more supporters within the team” and a new deal was a “natural conclusion as he aims for further improvement”.

    IT’S RACE WEEK: 5 storylines we’re excited about ahead of the 2023 Singapore Grand Prix

    It means Zhou will have the opportunity to race on home soil for the first time in F1, with the Chinese Grand Prix returning to the calendar next year.

    The move gives the team stability as the 24-year-old’s team mate Bottas already had a contract for 2024, having signed a multi-year deal that comes to a conclusion at the end of next year.

    MONZA, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 02: Zhou Guanyu of China driving the (24) Alfa Romeo F1 C43 Ferrari on
    Zhou Guanyu has signed a new deal to extend his stay with Alfa Romeo

    “Signing again with the team is always a great feeling, especially when we know how things are shaping up,” said Zhou. “I am proud to be part of Alfa Romeo and grateful for their trust.

    “I have been working extremely hard since day one and there is an incredible level of motivation to keep doing so every day forward. My relationship with Valtteri is really good, and we are working closely together and with the team to push everyone forward.

    “I am also very excited about the opportunity to finally race with my team in China, in front of my home crowd. It will be a great moment and I’m proud to be able to share it with all those who have supported me.”

    BARRETTO: Will Ferrari stick or twist with their driver line-up? Sainz’s Monza podium might have come at the perfect time…

    Bottas said: “I have a feeling we have an exciting journey ahead of us, so I am happy and grateful to be able to look forward to 2024 knowing how the team is shaping up.

    “There is a good atmosphere within our squad, I get along with Zhou and we both push each other hard to improve.

    "There is an impressive amount of work going on behind the scenes, in Hinwil and beyond, and now that the line-up is set for next year, we can focus fully on improving, starting this weekend in Singapore already.”

    MONZA, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 01: Zhou Guanyu of China and Alfa Romeo F1 and Valtteri Bottas of Finland
    Zhou's deal gives Alfa Romeo stability as the 24-year-old’s team mate Bottas already had a contract for 2024

    With Alfa Romeo’s full line-up now confirmed for 2024, Team Representative Alessandro Alunni Bravi said: “The decision to continue our journey with our driver line-up unchanged is testament to the investment we have made in our project.

    “Nothing in Formula 1 changes overnight, and we have taken a conscious decision to focus on stability and to keep building our team up together as we embark on an important period of transition.

    “Valtteri and Zhou are drivers of known talent and skill and they work really well together: they are well-matched and can push each other.

    READ MORE: Vowles sets out pathway for Sargeant to stay at Williams for 2024

    "Valtteri has taken a real leader’s role within the team, pushing us all to give our best; Zhou has made impressive steps forward in the last two years and we expect him to continue on this trajectory in 2024.

    “Now the baton is back to us – we have to give both drivers a good car and put them in the best conditions to perform.”

    ZANDVOORT, NETHERLANDS - AUGUST 25: Alessandro Alunni Bravi, Team Representative of Alfa Romeo F1
    Alessandro Alunni Bravi, Team Representative of Alfa Romeo, believes the driver line-up decision is a testament to investment made in the team's project

    Alfa Romeo also announced F2 championship leader Theo Pourchaire will continue in his role as reserve driver in 2024.

    “Over the years, the team has become a family to me and, therefore, I am really happy and grateful to continue my journey with Alfa Romeo and the Sauber Academy,” said Pourchaire.

    “The support I have received from everyone in the team has been outstanding, and I’m proud to be able to contribute to the growth of the whole operation.”

    BEYOND THE GRID: Gwen Lagrue on uncovering young talent, working with Toto Wolff and much more

    Alunni Bravi added: “I am happy that Théo will remain with the team for 2024 as one of our reserve drivers: he has done an incredible job this year, not just in F2, where we will all support him as he fights for the title in Abu Dhabi, but also behind the scenes, working with the team in Hinwil.”

    Alfa Romeo head into this weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix in ninth in the constructors’ championship, one point behind Haas.