Jump to content


Photo
- - - - -

Zhou confirmed at Alfa


  • Please log in to reply
153 replies to this topic

#1 Clrnc

Clrnc
  • Member

  • 4,076 posts
  • Joined: March 15

Posted 16 November 2021 - 10:12

Worst kept secret is out. First ever Chinese driver in F1. Going to be huge for them in terms of marketing. 

 

Ability wise I think he is not too shabby but certainly not an Alien. Rate him above average. If he can come close to Bottas pace wise then it will be a good season for him


Edited by Clrnc, 16 November 2021 - 10:13.


Advertisement

#2 FirstnameLastname

FirstnameLastname
  • Member

  • 3,763 posts
  • Joined: April 18

Posted 16 November 2021 - 10:14

Zhou + Bottas… Battle for 17th is going to be INTENSE

#3 ensign14

ensign14
  • Member

  • 55,613 posts
  • Joined: December 01

Posted 16 November 2021 - 10:15

His record merits him a decent go at it.  The sadness of the diminished grid is that there are others who also merit them a decent go at it but there's no room.



#4 Singularity

Singularity
  • Member

  • 766 posts
  • Joined: March 21

Posted 16 November 2021 - 10:18

Will be interesting to measure him against Bottas in qualifying. I doubt Zhou will make a lasting impression though. At least not a positive one. A 1-1 replacement to Giovinazzi.


Edited by Singularity, 16 November 2021 - 10:18.


#5 Clrnc

Clrnc
  • Member

  • 4,076 posts
  • Joined: March 15

Posted 16 November 2021 - 10:24

Will be interesting to measure him against Bottas in qualifying. I doubt Zhou will make a lasting impression though. At least not a positive one. A 1-1 replacement to Giovinazzi.

Giovinazzi level sounds about right, with the added bonus of having huge financial advantage. 



#6 jonpollak

jonpollak
  • Member

  • 36,169 posts
  • Joined: March 00

Posted 16 November 2021 - 10:24

Why does the OP state that Zhou is not an alien?
Can the PC brigade clear this up for me please.
Jp

#7 krapmeister

krapmeister
  • Member

  • 9,145 posts
  • Joined: August 08

Posted 16 November 2021 - 10:30

If he can come close to Bottas pace wise then it will be a good season for him


And a bad season for Bottas

#8 Baddoer

Baddoer
  • Member

  • 3,041 posts
  • Joined: October 09

Posted 16 November 2021 - 10:31

Great news. It's being rather ridiculous not to have worlds most populated country representative in F1.



#9 ForzaFormula

ForzaFormula
  • Member

  • 1,981 posts
  • Joined: April 17

Posted 16 November 2021 - 10:35

Bottas has overall shown he is better then Perez  and on his day can match Hamilton (At least on pace which is as fast as you get in F1) lacks consistency and wheel to wheel battling but a great benchmark and team mate for Zhou to develop, if he keeps it clean and put's in the work in he "could" surprise a few, if he can handle the pressure.


Edited by ForzaFormula, 16 November 2021 - 10:41.


#10 Singularity

Singularity
  • Member

  • 766 posts
  • Joined: March 21

Posted 16 November 2021 - 10:37

Why does the OP state that Zhou is not an alien?
Can the PC brigade clear this up for me please.
Jp

That's my fault.

https://forums.autos...the-next-alien/


Edited by Singularity, 16 November 2021 - 10:43.


#11 noikeee

noikeee
  • Member

  • 20,848 posts
  • Joined: February 06

Posted 16 November 2021 - 10:41

Congratulations to Chinese fans for finally getting a driver in F1.
 
Zhou is probably not in the world's top 20 drivers but also probably not far off. He's one of those "okay" prospects that we don't expect to develop into a star, but also wouldn't expect to disgrace himself. He's just a solid, tidy pro driver. Still just 22 years old which seems perhaps surprising as we've seen him in feeder series for a little while.
 
I would expect a slight dropoff in performance from Giovinazzi - as unexciting as Gio has been, it's easy to forget he came into F1 with some pedigree behind him, had looked the equal of Gasly in F2 as his team-mate with less experience. They are also swapping a driver with 3 years of F1 experience by a rookie. However, the potential pool of Chinese funding that opens to them clearly justifies it, specially given they'll have a very good lead driver in Bottas, likely an upgrade from a 40 year old Kimi. This is also the year where they can afford to swap both drivers, as the cars will be completely different and comparing it to the last Alfa car is not as relevant. It's the right call for the team.


#12 messy

messy
  • Member

  • 5,907 posts
  • Joined: October 15

Posted 16 November 2021 - 10:41

Zhou, for me, never kicked on after his impressive F2 rookie season. He's decent, but I suspect more a Sirotkin than a Leclerc. 

 

This is big for China though, obviously.



#13 Eff1

Eff1
  • Member

  • 732 posts
  • Joined: July 17

Posted 16 November 2021 - 10:44

Zhou, for me, never kicked on after his impressive F2 rookie season. He's decent, but I suspect more a Sirotkin than a Leclerc. 

 

This is big for China though, obviously.

 

 

I suspect he will fit somewhere in between.

 

I hope he does well, he has a decent team-mate to work with next year.



#14 Dratini

Dratini
  • Member

  • 2,360 posts
  • Joined: July 17

Posted 16 November 2021 - 10:45

 

Congratulations to Chinese fans for finally getting a driver in F1.
 
Zhou is probably not in the world's top 20 drivers but also probably not far off. He's one of those "okay" prospects that we don't expect to develop into a star, but also wouldn't expect to disgrace himself. He's just a solid, tidy pro driver. Still just 22 years old which seems perhaps surprising as we've seen him in feeder series for a little while.
 
I would expect a slight dropoff in performance from Giovinazzi - as unexciting as Gio has been, it's easy to forget he came into F1 with some pedigree behind him, had looked the equal of Gasly in F2 as his team-mate with less experience. They are also swapping a driver with 3 years of F1 experience by a rookie. However, the potential pool of Chinese funding that opens to them clearly justifies it, specially given they'll have a very good lead driver in Bottas, likely an upgrade from a 40 year old Kimi. This is also the year where they can afford to swap both drivers, as the cars will be completely different and comparing it to the last Alfa car is not as relevant. It's the right call for the team.

 

Depends how 'far off' you'd consider 100 to be from 20. I'm sure you could find 100 active racing drivers around the world better than him.
 



#15 absinthedude

absinthedude
  • Member

  • 4,083 posts
  • Joined: June 18

Posted 16 November 2021 - 10:46

Great for China and the Far East in general to have a regular driver on the grid. It's taken time for a Chinese driver to climb the ladder but Zhou's record is sound. Probably not a candidate for GOAT but he's got a credible record behind him.

 

 A little sad to see GIO go, but he's had his chance....hasn't done much wrong but just didn't prove to be anything special. Zhou may not be any better, but he's got backing to go with his not inconsiderable speed. He may do better than GIO, but even if he's on the same level....this helps Sauber/Alfa financially. 

 

Looking forward to seeing how he goes alongside Bottas, who is a great benchmark. 



#16 PlatenGlass

PlatenGlass
  • Member

  • 3,115 posts
  • Joined: June 14

Posted 16 November 2021 - 10:49

Meanwhile Oscar Piastri who is probably going to win the F2 championship at his first attempt is going to see his skills atrophy as "reserve driver" (fancy term for thumb twiddler) for Alpine in 2022.

$$$

Edited by PlatenGlass, 16 November 2021 - 10:52.


#17 noikeee

noikeee
  • Member

  • 20,848 posts
  • Joined: February 06

Posted 16 November 2021 - 10:52

Depends how 'far off' you'd consider 100 to be from 20. I'm sure you could find 100 active racing drivers around the world better than him.
 

I meant *open wheel, formula drivers*. Definitely higher top 100 rather than lower top 100.



#18 MJB5990

MJB5990
  • Member

  • 1,805 posts
  • Joined: May 14

Posted 16 November 2021 - 11:00

Meh.

I mean technically he could still be F2 Champion at which point I might feel different.

But at the minute, meh.

#19 Lennat

Lennat
  • Member

  • 1,691 posts
  • Joined: July 09

Posted 16 November 2021 - 11:00

Meanwhile Oscar Piastri who is probably going to win the F2 championship at his first attempt is going to see his skills atrophy as "reserve driver" (fancy term for thumb twiddler) for Alpine in 2022.

$$$

 

It seems super stupid to let someone basically take a year out instead of doing say Super Formula or Indycar.

 

I mean, F1 is about driving CARS at the end of the day, not hanging around the pit wall or playing video games. It was different when test drivers actually tested, of course. :)



Advertisement

#20 Lennat

Lennat
  • Member

  • 1,691 posts
  • Joined: July 09

Posted 16 November 2021 - 11:01

I meant *open wheel, formula drivers*. Definitely higher top 100 rather than lower top 100.

 

+1

 

He would probably deserve an Indycar seat on merit.



#21 KWSN - DSM

KWSN - DSM
  • Member

  • 26,458 posts
  • Joined: January 03

Posted 16 November 2021 - 11:03

Great news. It's being rather ridiculous not to have worlds most populated country representative in F1.

 

If the 22 best drivers were from Botswana it would be better to have them, than choosing drivers due to nationality. I wish for Zhou to have a good f1 career, he is however not a champion in waiting, and most likely not a winner either, underwhelming choice for the seat.



#22 Anuity

Anuity
  • Member

  • 1,243 posts
  • Joined: September 17

Posted 16 November 2021 - 11:07

It seems that Alfa overall has downgraded its line up for next year.

 

I can understand maybe it was time for both Kimi and Gio to go, but their replacements are not particularly exciting, and not sure if any better.



#23 FirstnameLastname

FirstnameLastname
  • Member

  • 3,763 posts
  • Joined: April 18

Posted 16 November 2021 - 11:08

Gives me the winter to come up with a decent pun/play on words/joke involving Shih Tzu

Although it’s pronounced Joe I believe. Spoilsport.

#24 Alan Lewis

Alan Lewis
  • Member

  • 688 posts
  • Joined: December 02

Posted 16 November 2021 - 11:10

Great news. It's being rather ridiculous not to have worlds most populated country representative in F1.


A quick Wikibrowse suggests that, once Zhou has started his first race next year, the most populous country never to have had a World Championship driver will be Pakistan (fifth after China, India, USA and Indonesia).

The search starts here...

#25 Lennat

Lennat
  • Member

  • 1,691 posts
  • Joined: July 09

Posted 16 November 2021 - 11:10

It seems that Alfa overall has downgraded its line up for next year.

 

I can understand maybe it was time for both Kimi and Gio to go, but their replacements are not particularly exciting, and not sure if any better.

 

Wut? Bottas is clear improvement on 2021 Kimi in my opinion. He has been closer to Lewis than Kimi was even to Vettel, and that was some years ago now. 

 

I'd rate Zhou slightly below Gio, but not by too much.



#26 Baddoer

Baddoer
  • Member

  • 3,041 posts
  • Joined: October 09

Posted 16 November 2021 - 11:17

If the 22 best drivers were from Botswana it would be better to have them, than choosing drivers due to nationality. I wish for Zhou to have a good f1 career, he is however not a champion in waiting, and most likely not a winner either, underwhelming choice for the seat.

I can assure there a better drivers from who knows where than Hamilton or Verstappen. But i'd rather watch 22 mediocre drivers fighting like crazy for the title. I does not matter how good are they in absolute scale, what matters is the show.


Edited by Baddoer, 16 November 2021 - 11:18.


#27 Alan Lewis

Alan Lewis
  • Member

  • 688 posts
  • Joined: December 02

Posted 16 November 2021 - 11:18

If the 22 best drivers were from Botswana it would be better to have them, than choosing drivers due to nationality. I wish for Zhou to have a good f1 career, he is however not a champion in waiting, and most likely not a winner either, underwhelming choice for the seat.


I understand the sentiment, but Formula 1 isn't the best 20 drivers in the world, never has been and never will be.

The best three or four have (probably) always been part of it, more than that in its stronger periods, but never the whole grid. So filling those seats by applying other criteria (and let's be honest, that has very often meant M-O-N-E-Y) is as good as anything.

#28 Ali623

Ali623
  • Member

  • 1,901 posts
  • Joined: March 18

Posted 16 November 2021 - 11:19

It seems that Alfa overall has downgraded its line up for next year.

 

I can understand maybe it was time for both Kimi and Gio to go, but their replacements are not particularly exciting, and not sure if any better.

 

Bottas is definitely better than Kimi (of recent years) or Gio, Zhou is probably a downgrade on either though.



#29 engineblock1

engineblock1
  • Member

  • 881 posts
  • Joined: November 10

Posted 16 November 2021 - 11:20

Meanwhile Oscar Piastri who is probably going to win the F2 championship at his first attempt is going to see his skills atrophy as "reserve driver" (fancy term for thumb twiddler) for Alpine in 2022.

$$$

 

Being lined up for Alpine is better than immediately jumping for Alfa Romeo - who basically seem to have no ambitions and are pretty much stuck at lower end of the field.

Also Tsunoda experience shows how an early switch to F1 can kill your repute in half a season. It is good for Piastri to be aiming for a better seat 1 year later than being drafted in to the grid with haste.



#30 balage06

balage06
  • Member

  • 2,693 posts
  • Joined: December 11

Posted 16 November 2021 - 11:20

This will be the most neutral line-up on the grid next year. :lol:

 

neutral.jpg



#31 Fastcake

Fastcake
  • Member

  • 11,735 posts
  • Joined: April 10

Posted 16 November 2021 - 11:25

Well he’s done enough to earn a shot, even if Zhou is not the most exciting prospect out there. Obviously a big bag of cash for Alfa Romeo, and potentially for Formula One as a whole if he sticks around long enough and isn’t terrible.

#32 engineblock1

engineblock1
  • Member

  • 881 posts
  • Joined: November 10

Posted 16 November 2021 - 11:26

A quick Wikibrowse suggests that, once Zhou has started his first race next year, the most populous country never to have had a World Championship driver will be Pakistan (fifth after China, India, USA and Indonesia).

The search starts here...

 

Not sure if a local US series counts in here but Pakistan had a racing driver who drove in A1GP too.

 

Nur Ali - Wikipedia



#33 ForzaFormula

ForzaFormula
  • Member

  • 1,981 posts
  • Joined: April 17

Posted 16 November 2021 - 11:31

It seems that Alfa overall has downgraded its line up for next year.

 

I can understand maybe it was time for both Kimi and Gio to go, but their replacements are not particularly exciting, and not sure if any better.

Bottas is a big upgrade over a long past it Kimi, and you never know this guy could be at the least as good as Gio or at least more consistent in race trim.



#34 noikeee

noikeee
  • Member

  • 20,848 posts
  • Joined: February 06

Posted 16 November 2021 - 11:31

Zhou, for me, never kicked on after his impressive F2 rookie season. He's decent, but I suspect more a Sirotkin than a Leclerc. 

 

This is big for China though, obviously.

 

If the barometer is Sirotkin I expect him to just about be slightly better. Sirotkin was actually a really exciting prospect at a time, but seemed to stall, hit a ceiling, and start feeling the pressure as he got closer to F1. Zhou has been calmly developing little bit by little bit, doesn't seem like he's hit a ceiling yet.



#35 Alan Lewis

Alan Lewis
  • Member

  • 688 posts
  • Joined: December 02

Posted 16 November 2021 - 11:32

Not sure if a local US series counts in here but Pakistan had a racing driver who drove in A1GP too.

Nur Ali - Wikipedia


Ah yes, I remember him from A1GP, the reason being he is exactly ten years younger than me to the day.

So, like me, he's probably missed the F1 boat, sadly. 😊

#36 ensign14

ensign14
  • Member

  • 55,613 posts
  • Joined: December 01

Posted 16 November 2021 - 11:35

Meanwhile Oscar Piastri who is probably going to win the F2 championship at his first attempt is going to see his skills atrophy as "reserve driver" (fancy term for thumb twiddler) for Alpine in 2022.

$$$

You can blame bedblocker Alonso for that.



#37 w00dy

w00dy
  • Member

  • 1,208 posts
  • Joined: April 04

Posted 16 November 2021 - 11:43

Congats to Zhou!



#38 Risil

Risil
  • Administrator

  • 45,711 posts
  • Joined: February 07

Posted 16 November 2021 - 11:47

Sounds like an interesting duo for 2022. I like Bottas and I like rookies, especially rookies from countries that haven't had much in the way of F1.



#39 Spillage

Spillage
  • Member

  • 8,491 posts
  • Joined: May 09

Posted 16 November 2021 - 11:49

Look forward to seeing how he gets on. Seems a bit solid-but-unspectacular but he is very young and could easily improve dramatically.

What I don't get is poor Piastri. He wins the F3 title last year, is favourite for the F2 title thus year but there doesn't even seem to be any suggestion that F1 teams are interested in him.

Advertisement

#40 IrvTheSwerve

IrvTheSwerve
  • Member

  • 1,270 posts
  • Joined: July 15

Posted 16 November 2021 - 11:52

Bottas is a big upgrade over a long past it Kimi, and you never know this guy could be at the least as good as Gio or at least more consistent in race trim.

That’s how I feel. Bottas is an upgrade on current Kimi, has spent years in a dominant front running team and is a very quick driver in his own right. This has been forgotten a bit while he’s been alongside Hamilton.

 

Zhou clearly has some pace (and money), so it’s worth the gamble for Alfa. Sticking with Gio, as much as I like the guy, is a bit ‘meh’. At least Zhou is a bit ‘meh’ but with the possibility of finding a gem, plus money!



#41 ezequiel

ezequiel
  • Member

  • 2,039 posts
  • Joined: December 06

Posted 16 November 2021 - 11:56

A quick Wikibrowse suggests that, once Zhou has started his first race next year, the most populous country never to have had a World Championship driver will be Pakistan (fifth after China, India, USA and Indonesia).

The search starts here...

Where's Adam Khan when one needs him?



#42 William Hunt

William Hunt
  • Member

  • 7,731 posts
  • Joined: July 01

Posted 16 November 2021 - 12:01

There's no reason for negativity around Zhou's appointment, on the contrary I think it's great news. The first Chinese driver in F1 is great news, it's historic and Zhou is very nice guy, he's got charisma as well, and he has proven to be quick in feeder series. Is he the biggest junior talent? No he is not. Are there drivers deserving that seat more (like Piastri): probably yes.
But that doesn't mean that we as fans shouldn't support Zhou. He's a great guy, he's always been competitive in feeder series and was quick in F2 since the first time he stepped in to an F2 car. He's not like Marino Sato or Roy Nissany, you could perfectly argue that Zhou is in F1 on merit and he still has a good shot at winning the F2 title this year. 
I like Giovinazzi a lot, he's a very likeable person but it's not like he set the world on fire. Giovinazzi is a good driver and a great team player but most of us expected more from him and he's been too erratic in races.

In an ideal world we would have drivers like Piastri move to F1 next year. But it's not Zhou's fault that there are only 20 seats in F1 but that's the reality now. We don't have over 30 cars anymore like the end of the '80s and early '90s. In such a scenario talents like Piastri would always have been in F1. He certainly won't be the worst driver in F1. That accolade is for Mazepin and Zhou is more talented as Latifi as well.


Edited by William Hunt, 16 November 2021 - 12:07.


#43 carbonfibre

carbonfibre
  • Member

  • 6,739 posts
  • Joined: February 05

Posted 16 November 2021 - 12:02

Great news. It's being rather ridiculous not to have worlds most populated country representative in F1.

And why is that? Maybe just maybe the drivers just weren't good enough?

F1 needs the best drivers and not just because of race gender etc.

#44 jonpollak

jonpollak
  • Member

  • 36,169 posts
  • Joined: March 00

Posted 16 November 2021 - 12:03

That's my fault.

https://forums.autos...the-next-alien/


Ahhh.. Thanks Sing
I’m still coming to terms with all the jargon here !!!!

Jp

#45 messy

messy
  • Member

  • 5,907 posts
  • Joined: October 15

Posted 16 November 2021 - 12:06

I'm really disappointed how Giovinazzi turned out because I LOVED him in that F2 season. He a was brilliant, feisty, exciting talent. Maybe Gasly was slightly quicker when he hooked it up but Giovinazzi was far more exciting the way he raced. And the three years in F1 have been a bit of a wet fart really. 



#46 PayasYouRace

PayasYouRace
  • RC Forum Host

  • 32,863 posts
  • Joined: January 10

Posted 16 November 2021 - 12:09

Welcome aboard. Nice to have someone new from somewhere new.

I’ve not generally been following the junior formulae recently. At least it makes the rookies interesting. Bottas should be a good benchmark for a rookie too.

#47 Vesuvius

Vesuvius
  • Member

  • 13,972 posts
  • Joined: August 09

Posted 16 November 2021 - 12:10

Wut? Bottas is clear improvement on 2021 Kimi in my opinion. He has been closer to Lewis than Kimi was even to Vettel, and that was some years ago now.

I'd rate Zhou slightly below Gio, but not by too much.

Not quite true.

Bottas is fast over one lap, but on race pace he just doesn't have it, not an update. Zhou will not be an update over Giovinazzi, at least not immediately. Anyway this duo can do well, if the car/PU is good.

Edited by Vesuvius, 16 November 2021 - 12:14.


#48 Risil

Risil
  • Administrator

  • 45,711 posts
  • Joined: February 07

Posted 16 November 2021 - 12:12

There's no reason for negativity around Zhou's appointment, on the contrary I think it's great news. The first Chinese driver in F1 is great news, it's historic and Zhou is very nice guy, he's got charisma as well, and he has proven to be quick in feeder series. Is he the biggest junior talent? No he is not. Are there drivers deserving that seat more (like Piastri): probably yes.

 

I think you've made the case for the prosecution there



#49 William Hunt

William Hunt
  • Member

  • 7,731 posts
  • Joined: July 01

Posted 16 November 2021 - 12:13

It was not reported for how many years Zhou signed. I get the impression he got a multi-year deal, that would block out Pourchaire. Imho they should not have hired Bottas (or maybe just for 1 year but Valtteri likely would not have signed then). They should have gone for Zhou & Pourchaire and build the future with two youngsters. Bottas is the better short term option but in the long run they would have been better off sacrificing 2022 but with Pourchaire already in F1 instead of Valtteri.

A Pourchaire - Zhou line-up would have been a bit like Sauber's 2001 line-up with Nick Heidfeld (who only had one year of F1 experience at Prost) combined with Kimi Raikkönen: two youngsters.



#50 Clrnc

Clrnc
  • Member

  • 4,076 posts
  • Joined: March 15

Posted 16 November 2021 - 12:16

Bottas has overall shown he is better then Perez  and on his day can match Hamilton (At least on pace which is as fast as you get in F1) lacks consistency and wheel to wheel battling but a great benchmark and team mate for Zhou to develop, if he keeps it clean and put's in the work in he "could" surprise a few, if he can handle the pressure.

Unfair to compare Perez and Bottas in Perez first ever season in a difficult to setup car that's tailor made for Max. And yet he has already shown more bottle and race craft than Bottas ever did in his career. 

 

He could still finish ahead of Bottas anyway.