Zhou explains why Alonso is the best driver he’s raced against

Zhou Guanyu says Fernando Alonso was an idol for him growing up and regards the Aston Martin driver is the best person he's ever raced against


Zhou Guanyu believes Fernando Alonso is the best driver he has ever raced against in Formula 1, citing him as one of his childhood idols.

The Shanghai native, who drove Alonso’s car during an FP1 session prior to the 2021 Austrian Grand Prix for Alpine, was photographed supporting the Spaniard when attending the Chinese GP as a young fan.

‘‘For me, Fernando Alonso,’’ admitted Zhou when asked by Total Motorsport.com as to who was the best driver on the grid. ‘‘It’s clear that will be my choice because he was my racing idol since I was a young kid.

‘‘My first race [which I attended] was in Shanghai [in] 2004. He was there, and then [he started] winning races the next two years. I watched him holding his flag, so I’ve been a big fan of him. 

‘‘I never expected to be racing with my childhood idol 10-15 years later, so that’s an achievement. When he has a very strong car, he can put it at the front.’’

F1’s popularity in China

2016 Chinese Grand Prix

Zhou’s arrival in the sport has made F1 an overnight sensation in China, with television viewing figures increasing over the past few years.

It marked a rapid change of fortunes from a decade ago when F1 was losing popularity in the country, causing a decline in television viewership.

‘‘It’s been quite massive,’’ said Zhou. I know we haven’t got a GP yet, since I arrived in F1. So I was impressed with the audience we had between the first race last year, to now.

‘‘It’s nice seeing people my age or younger loving motorsports, [it’s] nice to see this trend going in a positive direction.

‘‘Now motorsports is a priority sport when five-ten years ago it was unpopular, so it’s important for us to have a driver in F1 to get them watching the race.’’

Fully focused on F1 survival

Despite’s Zhou’s progress and local media reporting his F1 debut was watched by 250 million of his compatriots, a GP hasn’t been hosted on Chinese shores for four years.

F1 was supposed to return in April 2023, but following difficulties caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, Liberty Media dropped the Chinese GP from the calendar putting the race’s future at risk.

‘‘I will be a little bit disappointed,’’ admitted Zhou. ‘‘I’m not going to think about all these negatives. The most important thing is improving myself [and securing] a contract extension. 

‘‘We will see you know if, in the case, it goes [ahead] or not. But I just want to stay in F1, and then if I do well here, a home race [would be a bonus].’’

Ed Spencer
Ed Spencer
FIA accredited journalist
- Advertisment -


Pascal Wehrlein celebrates winning 2024 Formula E championship | Formula E

London E-Prix Results 2024 – Formula E Round 16

Pascal Wehrlein emerged victorious in one of the most dramatic races in Formula E history, securing his maiden Drivers'...
Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes battle for track position at Turn 2 during the 2024 Hungarian Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Max Verstappen escapes crash penalty: Blames Lewis Hamilton

Max Verstappen blames Lewis Hamilton for turning in too early for their Hungaroring crash on July 21 as the...
Lando Norris in action at the 2024 Hungarian GP | McLaren

F1 Standings after 2024 Hungarian Grand Prix

Oscar Piastri secured his first Formula 1 victory at the 2024 Hungarian Grand Prix amid internal McLaren drama with...
Porsche driver Pascal Wehrlein after winning Round 15 at the London E-Prix | Formula E

Wehrlein wins 2024 Formula E title after gripping London E-Prix

An unbelievable end to the 2024 Formula E season saw Pascal Wehrlein crowned champion at the London E-Prix after...
Pascal Wehrlein and Mitch Evans in action at the 2024 London E-Prix | Formula E

Formula E 2024 LIVE: London E-Prix Finale – Wehrlein becomes champion after huge drama

Welcome to this Total-Motorsport.com Formula E LIVE BLOG for Round 16 from the 2024 London E-Prix! This Sunday, we bring you real-time updates,...
Lando Norris during practice at the 2024 Hungarian GP | McLaren F1 Team

Norris blames McLaren for team orders debacle: Issues warning

Lando Norris blamed McLaren for the team orders chaos at the 2024 Hungarian GP as he waited until Lap...
George Russell in action at the 2024 Hungarian GP | Mercedes

F1 2024 Hungarian GP – Fastest Lap

George Russell set the fastest lap of the 2024 Hungarian GP with a 1:20.305 on a weekend when he...
Oscar Piastri in action at the 2024 Hungarian GP | McLaren

Oscar Piastri Takes Debut F1 Victory at Hungarian GP Amid McLaren Drama

Oscar Piastri has clinched his first-ever Formula 1 victory at the 2024 Hungarian GP, after a dramatic race filled...
Oscar Piastri of McLaren leads Lando Norris and Max Verstappen into Turn 1 at the start during the 2024 Hungarian Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

F1 2024 Hungarian Grand Prix – Race Results

The 2024 Hungarian Grand Prix race weekend took us through the midpoint of the Formula 1 season, and Oscar Piastri took the chequered flag to...
Sergio Perez during practice ahead of the 2024 Hungarian Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

F1 2024 Hungarian GP – Piastri wins after Norris finally follows team orders

Welcome to this Total-Motorsport.com F1 Live Blog for the 2024 Hungarian GP! This Sunday, we bring you real-time updates,...
- Advertisment -