Zhou Guanyu says current F1 contract talks with Alfa Romeo “more delayed than I expected”

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Zhou Guanyu says “I’m very keen on staying where I am” as the Chinese driver looks to extend his stay at Alfa Romeo. His contract is expiring at the end of 2023, and is yet to sign an extension with the Hinwil-based outfit.

The 24-year-old has done a solid job since his debut at the 2022 Bahrain Grand Prix alongside Valtteri Bottas and has scored two P9 finishes this year.

When asked about signing a contract extension with the team, the Alfa Romeo driver said: “At the minute, this is the priority, and there’s not a lot of seats available.”

Audi will take over the team in 2026 as F1 welcomes a new set of regulations. The Chinese driver said his goal is to be offered a multi-year contract, but the German manufacturer’s arrival may impact his prospects.

“That’s the target, of course. It’s not easy because we’re just, let’s say, Audi arriving. All these things need to be taken a little bit more time. But for me, I do like to have a longer contract in order to be a bit more relaxed rather than having a year’s contract.”

Alfa Romeo has officially retained Bottas for 2024 as next year’s grid becomes clearer following the news on Thursday that Lewis Hamilton and George Russell will stay at Mercedes until 2025. The team sit ninth in the Constructors’ standings, just two points behind fellow Ferrari customers Haas in the battle for eighth in the championship.

Alfa Romeo hasn’t delivered a points finish in the last five races, with their last point coming in Canada through Bottas.

The Chinese driver would have preferred to have more clarity over his future but insists a renewal is on the horizon.

“It’s a little bit [more] delayed than I expected, but I think it’s just due to these more details under the contract and me, together with Alfa Romeo, trying to figure out to get all these final details.

“But yeah, for my side, I think nothing changed. I just try to keep doing the best I could on track, and then the rest I leave it to them.

“But in terms of when to sign, I still have no answer to that. But we definitely are talking more into that and getting closer to being done.

“But I’m happy to be spending more years together with this team because I say the future is bright from where the team is heading off, and the rest is just up to time.”

Zhou could race at his home event next year if he remains at the team, as the Chinese Grand Prix returns.

“Nothing is sure until I sign the contract, so obviously, nothing has been decided. But we’re getting very close to that point and there’s definitely been heading, let’s say, a lot more further than just finished the summer break because obviously, summer break, there’s a shutdown.

“Everybody, also myself, I wasn’t looking at my phone. But in general, I think now is the time that everything just needs to be put into place in the next few weeks.”