Driver Profile: Guanyu Zhou

NameGuanyu Zhou
Date of Birth30 May 1999
Place of BirthShanghai, China
Car Number24
First Entry2022 Bahrain Grand Prix

Biography of F1 driver Guanyu Zhou

Guanyu Zhou’s career in karting began at the age of eight in China, though he moved to Sheffield in 2012 in order to compete at a higher level.

After joining the Sheffield-based Strawberry Racing team, Zhou won titles in the Super 1 National Rotax Max Junior Championship and the Rotax Max Euro Challenge. He capped off his karting career with second in the Rotax Max Senior Euro Challenge while competing in rounds of the WSK Champions Cup and the KF2 European Championship.

From there Zhou made the move to Formula 4, racing for the Prema Powerteam in the 2015 Italian F4 Championship. He ended the year as vice-champion while also being named best rookie.

Stops in Formula 3 and Formula 2

Zhou continued his ascent up the racing pyramid by joining team Motopark for the 2016 FIA European F3 Championship, though struggles during the second half of the season meant a 13th place finish at seasons end.

A second season in the series saw improvement from the Chinese driver, who finished on the podium five times to finish eighth in the standings.

Despite being linked with a move to F2, Zhou competed in a third F3 season that saw him claim his maiden victory in Pau. A second win in Hockenheim helped Zhou end the year eight in the standings for the second year running.

Zhou joined UNI-Virtuosi Racing for the 2019 Formula 2 Championship, with highlights that year including a podium in Barcelona and pole position at Silverstone. A seventh-place finish in the championship, the highest for a rookie, saw him take home the Anthoine Hubert Award.

A second season with UNI-Virtuosi followed, with Zhou claiming a second career pole at the opening race at the Red Bull Ring. Electric problems meant he could only finish 17th, however he did win his first Formula 2 race in Sochi later that year. In the end, Zhou finished sixth in the championship thanks in part to six podiums.

Zhou returned for a third season in 2021, which saw him win his first feature race at the opening round in Bahrain. A win in Monaco and podium in Baku was followed by four races without points, denting his championship hopes.

Wins in the feature race and Britain, along with a second sprint race in Abu Dhabi, saw Zhou end his Formula 2 career third in the championship.

Zhou and his journey to F1

The young Chinese driver is no stranger to F1, having joined the Ferrari Driver Academy while he was still karting in 2014.

He remained with the programme until the end of 2018, before joining the Renault Sport Academy and becoming the development driver for the Renault F1 team, and then later being promoted to test driver in 2020.

Alfa Romeo land Zhou

Zhou became the first full-time Chinese F1 driver when he signed on with Alfa Romeo ahead of the 2022 campaign. The youngster will race with the number 24 in honour of his sporting hero Kobe Bryant.