close global

Welcome to GPFans

CHOOSE YOUR COUNTRY

  • NL
  • GB
  • ES-MX
  • US
  • GB
F1 driver opens up on criticism that was 'impossible' to ignore

F1 driver opens up on criticism that was 'impossible' to ignore

F1 News

F1 driver opens up on criticism that was 'impossible' to ignore

F1 driver opens up on criticism that was 'impossible' to ignore

Zhou Guanyu has opened up about the criticism he received when he earned his seat in F1 with Alfa Romeo in for the 2022 season.

Zhou became the first Chinese F1 driver after spending three seasons in F2, finishing third in 2021. His performances this season earned him another year in the sport alongside team-mate Valtteri Bottas, as the team looks set to rebrand to Sauber after Alfa Romeo’s departure from the sport.

The 24-year-old is also looking forward to taking part in his home race for the first time, with Shanghai returning to the calendar for 2024.

However, while speaking with The Players’ Tribune, Zhou opened up on how it was ‘impossible’ to ignore the criticism he faced when he first joined F1.

Zhou Guanyu became the first Chinese F1 driver when he joined Alfa Romeo in 2022
Zhou signed a contract for 2024 alongside team-mate Valtteri Bottas

Zhou: 'Critcism was impossible to ignore'

“That winter, in November of 2021, when Alfa Romeo announced I’d be in the seat, I knew what people thought of me,” he said.

“It was impossible not to hear it. And it’s hard, right, because I worked my entire life for an opportunity like that. My family sacrificed a lot. We moved from China to Sheffield when I was 12. It took everything. Some luck, too.

“And then before I ever get a chance to race, it’s, ‘he doesn’t deserve it, it should be so-and-so, he’s only there because of money’.

“I understand. People are allowed to have their opinions. And there’s a lot of politics in F1, of course. I know that just as well as anyone. From the outside it’s hard to see everything that’s going on. And I’m beyond thankful to be where I am — it’s not lost on me what a privilege it is. But I’m still just a person, a guy with a phone who can hear the noise.

The 24-year-old is proud to be the first Chinese driver despite the criticism he faced

“I think it was hard at the beginning for me because I felt such a connection with F1. I was a fan for so long. I still am. I went to every Chinese Grand Prix, and I still would if I weren’t racing. It’s who I am.”

While his memories of when he got his chance in F1 may be conflicted, Zhou spoke of the immense pride he feels to be the first to represent his nation and looks back fondly at his debut race in Bahrain, where he came home to score a point in 10th.

“To be the first Chinese driver in F1 history… it’s everything to me,” he said. “I’m so proud of where I’m from — the support I’ve received from everyone back home. I race for them. I want to show that, even though we aren’t known for motor sports, we can still be great. That we can be fast. That we are a racing nation.

“That weekend [in Bahrain] meant so much to me. Every single one does. I hope the fans know that.”

READ MORE: Wolff makes shocking Hamilton F1 disqualification claim

Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Ontdek het op Google Play