Guanyu Zhou may have smashed his own windows at Alfa Romeo. The Chinese driver seemed to be the top candidate for the last seat at Alfa Romeo, but high contract demands would ensure that Frederic Vasseur would also talk to Oscar Piastri.
Zhou's demands too high
Almost all seats have been filled for the 2022 Formula One season, except for the second seat at Alfa Romeo. Valtteri Bottas will be the experienced leader there to replace Kimi Raikkonen and it looks like Antonio Giovinazzi will lose his spot. Zhou looked like the favourite, but according to Blick.ch his own windows.
The Chinese driver, who is supposed to be interesting because of his huge amount of money, demands a three-year contract. Vasseur would not accept this. The second seat in 2022 is a bridging year to give Sauber talent, Theo Pourchaire, a year to gain experience in F2 before he switches to Alfa Romeo.
Vasseur would therefore exclude the home-grown talent if he were to enter into a long deal with Zhou, as Bottas also has a long-term contract. Vasseur would therefore look at other talents and thus increase the pressure on Zhou. This would now Piastri in the picture.
Still a place for the F2 champion?
The young Australian seemed to miss the boat for 2022, while he has the best performances to show for it. In 2020 he won the Formula 3 title as a rookie and with two race weekends to go he also leads the F2 championship in his first season. Like Zhou, he is part of the Alpine academy, but Alpine themselves have no place for their talents.
It could be that Alfa Romeo is trying to put pressure on Zhou in the contract negotiations, but Vasseur's ties would also still be good with the old Renault. Therefore, talks with Piastri would also be possible, who would otherwise have to make do with a role as reserve driver.