From the German Formula school to the pinnacle of motorsport: Back in 2015, Guanyu Zhou completed his first laps at the wheel of an ADAC Formula 4 car. Seven years later, the Chinese driver has secured a Formula 1 seat. It was confirmed on 16th November that the 22-year-old will occupy the second seat at Alfa Romeo alongside Finn Valtteri Bottas in the 2022 Formula 1 season.
Zhou follows in the footsteps of Lando Norris and Mick Schumacher as the third ADAC Formula 4 driver to make it into Formula 1. Since ADAC started to promote young drivers in Formula racing 30 years ago, a total of 17 drivers have now progressed into the pinnacle of motorsport – the first of these was Ralf Schumacher, who started in ADAC Sonax Formula Junior in 1992 and made his Formula 1 debut in 1997.
Zhou replaces Italian Antonio Giovinazzi next season. The Chinese ended the 2020 FIA Formula 2 season in sixth place overall with the UNI-Virtuosi Racing team. He had previously surprised many by finishing an impressive seventh and winning the rookie competition in his F2 debut season in 2019.
Born in Shanghai, Zhou is the first Chinese driver in the history of Formula 1. The former Ferrari Driver Academy youngster took his first steps in Formula racing with the Italian Prema Powerteam, for whom he also started nine races in the inaugural ADAC Formula 4 season in 2015.
Zhou immediately made it onto the podium in the ADAC’s high-speed school in 2015. After third place at the Red Bull Ring, he finished runner-up in Spa-Francorchamps behind Sweden’s Joel Eriksson, who went on to finish second in the championship and now lines up in the ADAC GT Masters. Zhou attended his first training session in a Formula 1 car in July 2021.