Zhou replaces Giovinazzi and joins Bottas at Alfa Romeo Racing for 2022

Guanyu Zhou will be Formula 1’s first full-season Chinese driver after Alfa Romeo Racing confirmed he will join the team for the 2022 season.

The multiple Formula 2 race winner was the second driver to step into the seat of an F1 car after Ma Qing Hua in 2011.

He will replace Antonio Giovinazzi who drove for the team for three full consecutive seasons.

The 22-year-old will join current Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas at Alfa Romeo Racing for next year’s season.

Zhou said: “I dreamt from a young age of climbing as high as I can in a sport that I am passionate about and now the dream has come true.

“It is a privilege for me to start my Formula 1 racing career with an iconic team, a team that has introduced so much young talent into Formula 1 in the past.

“Now the dream is reality. I feel well-prepared for the immense challenge of Formula 1, the pinnacle of my sport, alongside a proven, world-class talent in Valtteri Bottas.”

Credit: © Alpine Press Office

He made his F1 race weekend debut during his reserve driver role at Alpine, driving Fernando Alonso’s car during FP1 at the Austrian Grand Prix.

Oscar Piastri will become Alpine’s reserve driver after Zhou’s departure.

“Next year, the target will be to learn as much as possible and as quickly as possible,” Zhou continued.

“To be the first ever Chinese driver in Formula 1 is a breakthrough for Chinese motorsport history.

“I know a lot of hopes will be resting on me and, as ever, I will take this as motivation to become better and achieve more.”

Frederic Vasseur, Team Principal, added: “He is a very talented driver, as his results in F2 have shown, and we are looking forward to helping his talent flourish even more in Formula One.

“We are proud of our line-up for 2022 and we are confident Zhou will form a very successful partnership with Valtteri.”

His first full season in Formula 1 will commence at the Bahrain season opener, 20 March.