Zhou 'privileged' to be joining Alfa Romeo for 2022 F1 season

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Guanyu Zhou says it will be a "privilege" to make his Formula 1 debut with Alfa Romeo after being confirmed for 2022 on Tuesday.

The Alpine junior is currently second in the Formula 2 standings and made his Grand Prix weekend debut with the French team earlier this year in Friday practice in Austria.

Now, Zhou becomes the first Chinese driver to compete in F1, replacing Antonio Giovinazzi at the Swiss outfit alongside Valtteri Bottas, who joins from Mercedes, next season.

“I dreamt from a young age of climbing as high as I can in a sport that I am passionate about and now the dream has come true," he said in a team statement.

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"It is a privilege for me to start my Formula 1 racing career with an iconic team, a team that has introduced so much young talent into Formula 1 in the past.

"Now the dream is reality. I feel well prepared for the immense challenge of Formula 1, the pinnacle of my sport, alongside a proven, world-class talent in Valtteri Bottas.

"I wish to thank the Alfa Romeo team for this opportunity. Next year the target will be to learn as much as possible and as quickly as possible.

"To be the first-ever Chinese driver in Formula 1 is a breakthrough for Chinese motorsport history. I know a lot of hopes will be resting on me and, as ever, I will take this as motivation to become better and achieve more.”

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Alfa Romeo is the last team to confirm their line-up for the next season after IndyCar driver Colton Herta had been linked during ultimately failed talks of a takeover by Andretti Autosport.

And while Zhou's financial backing is thought to have been the big factor in his favour, team boss Fred Vasseur has no concerns over his ability.

“It is a pleasure to welcome Guanyu Zhou to Alfa Romeo," he said. "He is a very talented driver, as his results in F2 have shown, and we are looking forward to helping his talent flourish even more in F1.

"We are proud of our line-up for 2022 and we are confident Zhou will form a very successful partnership with Valtteri.

"We are also looking forward to welcoming all the new Chinese fans who will join the team: Alfa Romeo is a historical brand and one that embodies the spirit of F1 and we will do our utmost to make the experience of our sport a great one in China.”