Zhou explains his focus as he hopes to enjoy a 'long career' in F1

SHANGHAI, CHINA - APRIL 21: Zhou Guanyu of China and Stake F1 Team Kick Sauber waves to the crowd

Zhou Guanyu has explained what he hopes to do in order to enjoy a “long career” in F1, with the Chinese driver yet to finalise his future beyond the current season.

It was a landmark moment for both Zhou and Formula 1 during the Chinese Grand Prix weekend, where the 24-year-old – who is the first Chinese driver to race in the sport – became the first driver to compete in front of his home crowd at the Shanghai International Circuit.

READ MORE: Zhou ‘proud and honoured’ to race in China but Bottas’ day ends in disappointment

Ahead of the event, Zhou acknowledged that it was likely to be emotional but vowed to maintain focus on the job in hand, something that he believes will be important in terms of delivering results and securing his future.

That focus has also become even more imperative, with the subsequent news that Nico Hulkenberg will be leaving Haas to join Kick Sauber for 2025 meaning at least one of Zhou or team mate Valtteri Bottas will be looking for a new team if they want to stay on the F1 grid.

SHANGHAI, CHINA - APRIL 20: Zhou Guanyu of China driving the (24) Kick Sauber C44 Ferrari on track

Zhou became the first driver to race in front of his home crowd at the Chinese Grand Prix

“For me it's been 20 years waiting for this Grand Prix and this journey has been not extremely easy, just because [of] where I'm coming from, and also trying to win at least a lot of races in feeder series to be here,” Zhou commented.

“And then once in F1, every year when you realise that the home race is not happening, two years in a row, [you] try to kind of do your best to maintain your seat and then to be here, today… So for me, of course, I'm still focused on my job, like [I] always said.

“I know [there will be] a mix of emotions going to this weekend, especially when we have on Sunday, with the national anthem going on and also the memories quickly reflect on your mind.

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"But as much as I am a race driver, I think the most important, critical thing is to do the right job on track, which is try to score points, give the maximum I have on the package on the car we have.

“From my side, I think we just focus on that, and hopefully it's not going to be the only one, because I'm planning hopefully to stay here as long as I could. Everybody loves to be having a long career in Formula 1, that's where we dream to be.”

While Zhou did not score points during the weekend in Shanghai, he did have plenty of support from the fans in the grandstands. A standing ovation at the end of the race left Zhou visibly emotional as he pulled up on the main straight to soak up the moment.

Prior to the event, the driver spoke of his pride at seeing the fanbase grow for Formula 1 in China since his arrival into the sport at the start of 2022.

2024 Chinese Grand Prix: Zhou savours his moment in front of the fans after first home race

“Obviously the first time you become an F1 driver, in our country they see countrymen racing different sports, especially Formula 1, there's only 20 drivers on the grid and then they start to focus on their drivers, where their city or their country is from, so it's great to see the fanbase is building up quite a lot,” explained Zhou.

“And also for me, I think you always have the fans [that have] been following motorsport for ages, since probably 2010, all these years when we have the Chinese Grand Prix, but then it’s great to have maybe fans that have different interests in other topics and then started to follow that because of you.

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“I think, for me, the most important part is just for the history or the background of the sports, that scenario here has not been the most popular sport in China.

"Of course, everybody in the country [knows] ping pong, football, basketball, these things are very famous, popular, and for people it’s maybe quite easy to play or to reach, but motorsport for them is always like a higher luxury end of sports.

“But I think everyone can still get involved, have that as an interest, and that's why I'm here, for one of the reasons, and it's great to see a lot of people coming, supporting, notice the race track, also off track, to see them there when you have activities. It is great to feel this energy.”



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