Bottas says Zhou “fully deserves” 2024 F1 contract with Alfa Romeo: “He made a big step” this season

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Valtteri Bottas is adamant that he will continue to be open with his Alfa Romeo teammate Zhou Guanyu despite the 24-year-old’s boost in confidence.

Both drivers have been retained by the Swiss outfit for 2024 as they maintain a stable line-up.

Bottas said when asked about being more selfish: “No, we still work as a team. We’re always going to be sharing everything.”

The Finnish driver has undertaken the team leader role since joining Alfa Romeo in 2022, using his vast experience to develop the Hinwil-based outfit and also his rookie teammate.

The 34-year-old has amassed 11 seasons worth of experience in Formula 1 since joining Williams in 2013 and has gone on to win 10 Grands Prix with Mercedes.

He said Zhou has grown in confidence and is becoming more assertive throughout his Formula 1 career.

“He [Zhou] has asked for less advice lately because he’s learned more.

“He’s starting to get that experience and that confidence. But then nothing changes how we work.”

Alfa Romeo has floundered in 2023, sitting ninth in the Constructors Championship behind fellow Ferrari customers Haas.

Zhou Guanyu's Alfa Romeo driving at Monza in the day time
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Zhou hasn’t scored a point since the Spanish Grand Prix in June but has recently been on the fringes of the points. He’s also properly challenged Bottas since the middle of last year in both qualifying and the race.

The Chinese driver has made just one race-ending error in 2023, clattering into the wall at Zandvoort in treacherous conditions.

Bottas praised his teammate’s improvement on-track and off-track: “I think he’s done a great job. I think if you compare last year to this year, he made a big step, and consistency has been very good.”

The Finn is also pleased to see his teammate retained and Zhou’s improvement with the setup and fine-tuning the car to maximise its potential.

“I think he fully deserves to do another season. I’m happy to see that it’s not only the driving part; it’s also the technical side. It’s way more confidence now with the setup and everything. He’s made really good progress.”

Alfa Romeo will be heading to Singapore looking to build on Bottas’ points-scoring P10 finish at Monza as F1 leaves Europe behind and begins the flyaway season.