Zhou Guanyu predicts a “quite chaotic” F1 Chinese GP as he “finally” gets to race in his home country

Zhou Guanyu on track at the 2024 Japanese Grand Prix in Suzuka - Image credit: Stake F1 team
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Zhou Guanyu shares his excitement for his home debut at this weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix. Following a four year hiatus from the calendar, the Shanghai International Circuit will play host to the current generation of Formula 1 cars for the first time.

Absent from the calendar since 2019, the Shanghai International Circuit will once again play host to Formula 1 this weekend, and for the first time, to a Chinese driver in Zhou Guanyu. Speaking prior to the Japanese Grand Prix, the young Sauber driver expressed his excitement to race in front of his home crowd.

Zhou admits the Chinese Grand Prix is the event he is looking forward to most as the Grand Prix has been missing from the calendar thus far during his tenure in the sport. He also notes it will be a big moment for the Chinese fans to see a Chinese driver racing on home soil.

“Yeah, of course, I’ve been finally waiting for this moment for, let’s say, two years,” said Zhou. “And, of course, one race, if I’m looking forward to the most, is the next one. And, yeah, I want to perform [at my] best to have a good result for that.

“I think all the fans, they just can’t wait to be having their home drivers there for the first time in 20 years.”

Speaking further on the fans, Zhou notes the growing popularity of motorsport in the nation, with more young drivers pursuing a career in the sport. He expressed his pride in being a figurehead for Chinese motorsport, noting the growth in interest since the 2022 season.

“I think in recent years, we already see a lot of, let’s say, young generation has been taking their step into motorsports, starting their karting career. There’s a lot, let’s say, a lot more young junior drivers that are taking this journey I was taking, going to Europe, trying to start the go-kart thann maybe when I started, you know, there’s not that many drivers.

“And then I think, of course, me, myself, taking a massive role in this big change in the history, background of motorsports culture. But I think having [hosted] the Grand Prix, having a Chinese driver there will make another life story change for our country, because we like to see our countrymen in, you know, the actual individual sports.

“Then there will be more people trying to have racing or driving as their hobby. But I do see the pattern is growing massively since [the] 2022 season.”

Looking ahead to this weekend’s Grand Prix, Zhou noted he has not yet had the opportunity to drive the circuit in a competitive capacity. Having driven on the track during a filming day, he was able to comment on the track surface, suggesting it should not present any issues in terms of grip. He does however expect a “chaotic” Grand Prix on Sunday.

“Yeah, it’s funny, it’s my home race, but I’ve never raced this track or drive there at all. So I drove there in the road car, that’s about it, to do some filming. But yeah, road car is four-wheel drive, so no sliding, traction issues.

“But yeah, I think it’s going to be a quite chaotic race also in general. And I don’t see the surface [being] be a problem. I’ve, of course, been to the track already over the winter or so last week just to do some filming. But the track seems to be, of course, resurfaced in a good way. Let’s see how this car goes on there first.

“And then, yeah, the kerb, everything looks good, OK. No, let’s say, strange or massive kerbs. So I think we’ll be OK with this generation.”