Formula 1

Zhou Guanyu’s Points Finish on Debut ‘Shut up’ a lot of People – Frédéric Vasseur

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Credit: Florent Gooden / DPPI

Frédéric Vasseur says it was pleasing to see Zhou Guanyu ‘shut up’ a lot of people by scoring a top ten finish on his FIA Formula 1 World Championship debut in the 2022 Bahrain Grand Prix.

Zhou became the first Chinese Formula 1 driver when he joined Alfa Romeo F1 Team ORLEN ahead of the 2022 season, the twenty-three-year-old forming an all-new line-up at the Hinwil-based team alongside Valtteri Bottas, the duo replacing Kimi Räikkönen and Antonio Giovinazzi.

Many critics called Zhou a pay driver ahead of his debut after stepping up from FIA Formula 2, but he put in a strong performance across his debut weekend, scoring a tenth place finish at the Bahrain International Circuit, a result that his outgoing Team Principal Vasseur was delighted to see.

He may have scored only two additional top ten finishes throughout his rookie season, but he was getting much closer to the pace of Bottas in the second half of the season, even outqualifying the veteran Finn in a handful of races.

However, it was the opening race’s performance that stood out for Vasseur, who will now become Team Principal at Scuderia Ferrari in 2023.

“You know and I know where the criticism was coming from,” said Vasseur to “Frustration is never a good guide but before making any bad comments about someone, you have to give him the chance to do the job.

“I was more than pleased for Zhou after Bahrain, race one, when after one-and-a-half days there, he was able to score points, to be in Q2 and it was a great achievement.

“I think that this shut up the mouths of a lot of people.”

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