Formula 1: Two possible directions for Guanyu Zhou’s future

Guanyu Zhou, Alfa Romeo, Formula 1 (Photo by Vince Mignott/MB Media/Getty Images)
Guanyu Zhou, Alfa Romeo, Formula 1 (Photo by Vince Mignott/MB Media/Getty Images) /

As things currently stand, the Formula 1 future of Guanyu Zhou at Alfa Romeo has the potential to go in two very different directions.

Coming into the 2023 Formula 1 season, the general expectation from many was that Guanyu Zhou would run the course of his contract and depart from Alfa Romeo at the end of the year. However, there could be a growing chance that he stays with the Zurich-based team for one more season.

Alfa Romeo could go about Zhou’s situation in two ways. They could simply replace him at the end of this season or extend him for one more year. There are valid reasons supporting both options.

The expected plan appeared to be for Alfa Romeo to replace Zhou ahead of the 2024 season. But the team have been struggling so far this season after what seemed like an optimistic start.

With Valtteri Bottas being the team leader, most believed he would perform a lot better than the 23-year-old Chinese driver, but that has not been the case. Zhou has been quite even with Bottas through the first four races of the year.

Zhou is only two points behind Bottas and has finished higher than him twice. But the C43 has been underwhelming so far, causing both drivers to struggle at times and leaving the team in eighth place in the constructor standings.

Given the fact that both Alfa Romeo drivers have performed at a similar level, Guanyu Zhou could be worthy of a one-year extension.

Additionally, the driver market after next season features nearly half of the grid being out of contract, when Alfa Romeo (Sauber) could go after a bigger name. They could attempt to secure the driver who could become the face of the 2026 Audi project going into the 2025 season.

On the flip side, the team may choose not to bring back Zhou. Alfa Romeo could look for a new face in the garage as they enter a new era in which Audi’s larger stake begins.

Lando Norris is one name Alfa Romeo could look to immediately. There is growing speculation that the 23-year-old will depart McLaren after this season. Even though his contract doesn’t expire until 2025, Alfa Romeo could use this opportunity to their advantage. Having the young Brit put pen to paper would be ideal for the team if the Audi project is enough to entice him.

Next. All-time Formula 1 wins list. dark

The team could really go either way with the future of Zhou. As it stands, it largely could depend on their aspirations as to who they would like to lead the team going forward, especially since Bottas is nearing the end of his Formula 1 career.