Alonso invaluable to Zhou: "He gave me a lot of tips"

24-01-2021 17:26 | Updated: 24-01-2021 18:56
F1 News
Alonso invaluable to Zhou: He gave me a lot of tips

Guanyu Zhou could well become the first Chinese Formula One driver. The test driver at Renault will in any case do everything to make that dream come true.

Crazy about cars

Zhou's interest in cars started at an early age. "When I was four or five, I already loved toy cars, I always got cars as a birthday present," the 21-year-old driver told France 24. "One day I went to an indoor karting track when I was seven and a half years old and that was the first time I drove a real kart. I absolutely loved it."

Zhou moved to Europe in 2012 for karting and started his motorsport career in 2015 in Formula 4. For the Prema Power team, he immediately finished second in the championship. He attracted the attention of Ferrari and was part of the junior programme from 2014 to 2018. In 2019, Zhou joined Renault where he is a test and reserve driver.

Obtaining a Super Licence

The goal for 2021 is clear, to obtain his Super Licence. "So that I am ready when a seat is available in F1, so that I can seize that opportunity," Zhou said. He is therefore close to becoming the first Chinese Formula One driver. "But the last step is the hardest, because in addition to the super licence, you also have to have the ability or the seat available to jump in."

If Zhou does indeed manage to secure a seat in Formula One, it will also have a big impact on the popularity of the sport in China. "The country is supporting me to realise my dream and also the dream of the Chinese motorsport fans. It has happened before in China - when someone achieves something good for the first time, people start following that sport much more. Hopefully I can be that person too."

Learning from Alonso

Daniel Ricciardo's departure to McLaren left a seat vacant at Renault for 2021, but that spot was filled by Fernando Alonso. Zhou is only too happy with the arrival of the two-time world champion and even calls the joint testing in Abu Dhabi invaluable. "He gave me a lot of tips. Not just in driving, it's more how you set up the car, how you manage the development of your battery during a long race, how you make a car perform better in qualifying." We'll see how far Zhou will go.

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