Alpine academy member and reserve driver Guanyu Zhou, is set to take to the track in a Formula 1 car for the first time this weekend, following a press release from Alpine which detailed that the young Chinese driver will take over Fernando Alonso’s A521 for the first round of free practice this Friday.
Written by Hafiz Akbar, edited by Janvi Unni
Zhou joined the Alpine academy earlier that year after three terrific campaigns in the F3 European Championship. He went on to score five podiums and was awarded the title of best rookie. He will be the first Chinese driver to participate in a weekend after an eight year hiatus.
Zhou commented: “To compete in the FP1 of a Formula 1 Grand Prix is a dream come true and one more step towards my ultimate goal as an F1 driver. It will be really special. I will prepare as much as possible while making sure to achieve all the goals and plans set by the team. There haven’t been a lot of Chinese drivers in Formula 1, so there will probably be a lot of pride when it comes to getting behind the wheel. It will be all the more special when I drive Fernando’s car, whose career inspired me when I was younger. I am very happy with what I have accomplished so far and am extremely grateful to the many people who have supported me. My goal is to maximize this opportunity and I can’t wait to be there.”
Laurent Rossi, CEO of Alpine, commented: “Entering F1 is an incredibly difficult challenge for young drivers and we are proud to support future talents in their adventure. In his role as test driver, Guanyu has participated in test and other sessions in the simulator, so his participation in free practice with the current car represents a logical and important step for one of the greatest hopes of the academy. This experience will help him greatly in his steady progress towards his ultimate goal of getting a wheel in F1.”
Will we see Zhou in a race anytime soon? Only time (or one of Alpine’s drivers catching the coronavirus) will tell.