SEPTEMBER 30, 2021
2021 to be Zhou's last season in F2
Guanyu Zhou is confident 2021 will be his "last season in Formula 2".
Reportedly with $30 million in Chinese backing, the 22-year-old Alpine junior is strongly linked with Antonio Giovinazzi's seat at Alfa Romeo for 2022.
Team boss Frederic Vasseur says the arrival of Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas next year gives him extra freedom to make a creative choice for the Finn's teammate.
"I think the fact that we have been able to recruit and welcome Valtteri is a huge opportunity for us," he said.
"Then it doesn't matter so much whether his teammate is a rookie or an experienced driver, as we will benefit from Valtteri's experience and speed."
Vasseur, however, says he is undecided about keeping or ousting the Ferrari-backed Giovinazzi, insisting the Italian is "doing a good job".
But when asked about Shanghai-born Zhou, the Frenchman added: "Zhou is doing a good job in Formula 2. Of course he is on the list."
It is believed Zhou will soon appear in an Alpine for a Friday practice session for the second time this season.
However, Alpine's Marcin Budkowski refused to comment on "rumours flying around" about Zhou making the big step up to Formula 1 with Alfa Romeo next year.
"I am not going to comment on rumours or on driver contracts other than to say that we are evaluating options for our academy drivers," he said.
Zhou himself, though, appears poised to make the big move to Formula 1.
"If I win the (F2) championship or finish in the top three, then the opportunity will come," he said.
"This year will be my last in Formula 2, I'm pretty sure of that. I think three years is enough to prove myself."