Zhou Guanyu has encountered a fair share of critics and applauders after his debut season in Formula 1. The Chinese-origin driver was signed by Alfa Romeo and paired with a Valtteri Bottas, fresh off an exit from Mercedes.
A Season That Fell Short Of Expectations
Zhou Guanyu exhibited impressive traits throughout the course of the 2022 Formula 1 season. The Chinese driver even managed to score points on debut after an impressive showing. Guanyu displayed maturity and promise in his rookie season and gradually became a topic of adoration among racing fans. Initially, many thought he might give Bottas stiff competition. Unfortunately for Guanyu, the season perhaps did not unfold as expected. It was a combination of bad luck, six DNFs and a non-competitive Alfa Romeo C42.
Descent from Praise To Adoration
Even before Guanyu joined Alfa Romeo, he became a fan favourite in Formula 2. But Formula 2 Champion Oscar Piastri was left with no room on the grid, but third-ranked Guanyu got the call up, the tides slowly turned. Many then branded Zhou Guanyu as a ‘cash driver.’ They feel that Formula 1 does not prioritize talent and performances but instead, gives in to promoting these cash drivers for financial profit. With this branding, people suggested that Guanyu only got the Formula 1 seat due to the huge Chinese market and audience for Formula 1. This would have opened up an avenue of sponsorship deals for Alfa Romeo. Also Read: Charles Leclerc addresses Ferrari shortcomings
Zhou Guanyu Hits Back At Critics
Guanyu responded by stating, “The financial thing is definitely not true. It’s people making stuff up, and then obviously, a lot of people go with it.” The Alfa Romeo driver highlighted the ignorance towards Formula 2 season and his performances in Formula 2. “Because people don’t know me, and they don’t know anything about me. They don’t watch F2. They don’t watch other series.”
“They’re just looking at your nationality or something, which is a bit unfair in a way, but that’s how it is in the world,” Guanyu added. Also Read: Fernando Alonso desires a third World Championship and sets the bar high for Aston Martin
Head-to-head Battle With The Finn
In head-to-head battle with team-mate Valtteri Bottas, Zhou Guanyu garnered six points, in comparison to Bottas’s forty-nine points. Bottas out-qualified Guanyu fourteen times during the season. Guanyu ended up 18th in the Driver Standings but is set to appear again for Alfa Romeo along with Bottas in 2023. Also Read: McLaren CEO Zak Brown invites criticism after supporting FIA’s recent ban
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