Alfa Romeo hoping to keep Zhou Guanyu for 2024 F1 season: “Stability for us is important”

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Now that Formula 1 has taken a break from racing for the next few weeks, it is time for rumors and speculation to take over until the Dutch Grand Prix. Some drivers will have their contracts renewed, some will have them broken, and maybe a few rookies will have their seats confirmed in the leadup to the 2024 Bahrain Grand Prix.

One team that has their hands full when discussing the future of their drivers is Alfa Romeo. After 3 years of Finn Kimi Raikkonen and Italian Antonio Giovinazzi, the team took brought in race-winner Valtteri Bottas and rookie Zhou Guanyu for the 2022 season. Following a successful season with made them rise 3 places in the Constructors’ Chamionship from 9th to 6th, they kept that line-up for 2023.

Photo credit: Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake

While Bottas has his seat confirmed next year, having inked a multi-year contract for the first time in his career, Zhou is in a different scenario. His contract expires after Abu Dhabi this year, and contract talks have already begun between Zhou and his team.

When asked about the situation during the Belgian Grand Prix weekend, Alfa Romeo Team Principal Alessandro Alunni Bravi insisted that they want Zhou to continue and maintain stability within the team, but he admits that he cannot confirm Zhou’s drive yet.

“Of course, we always said that stability for us is important. We are a team that is in a transformation process, and we try to be as much stable as possible in all areas. Of course, we are looking for improvement and opportunities. There will be time after the summer shutdown to sit with Zhou and look at what will be the best solution for both of us. Our target is to keep both drivers in our team next year but, of course, there must be all the elements in place to have a win-win situation.”

Alunni Bravi’s answer seems partially cryptic. While he emphasizes that he wants to keep Zhou around, he mentioned improvement and opportunities. Where could that opportunity arise from? Perhaps it could be from inside his own driver academy.

Sauber’s Theo Pourchaire is currently leading F2, and if he wins the title in his third season, he won’t be allowed back into the series, making F1 the only viable option for him.

Meanwhile, consistency in a team allows them to push forward knowing what they will get out from the drivers. Could this win-win situation play out in Zhou’s favour? Only time will tell.