Zhou: On Bahrain grid I won’t be nervous as last season

Zhou: On the Bahrain grid I won't be nervous as last season

Zhou Guanyu, gearing up for his second season in Formula 1, admits he will not be as nervous in Bahrain’s season opener in 2023 as he was last season.

Zhou had a decent rookie F1 season in 2022, not making many mistakes, and delivering consistent performances, which was enough to retain his seat at Alfa Romeo for another season.

Speaking at Alfa Romeo’s launch event for their 2023 F1 car, the C43, Zhou was asked if he would feel the same pressure this year as well; he responded: “For sure less.

“This year of course I need to perform, I need to make a good step up, and I need to do much better than last year,” he added. “Last year for me everything felt very new, and you don’t know how you can do.

“You can do as many simulator runs as you can but it’s not the same on track, and also handling the pressures. Here with the team, more the outside world, for me last year was the pressure that I really need to, let’s say, show my potential.

“Which I was very happy that I was able to do. But coming to this season everything felt a bit more familiar, and you are kind of gaining on experience from the past,” the Chinese driver pointed out.

“So I’m sure on the Bahrain starting grid I won’t be that nervous as last season round one. I’d never felt that nervous in my life! But that was an incredible day in the end. This year definitely is going to be less,” he insisted.

More consistency is key

The 23-year-old driver from Shanghai outlined his targets for 2023; he said: “On track it’s quite simple, try to make a step and make progress, also to start where we finished, taking all the opportunities possible, be more consistent, that’s definitely the key.

“Last year I think I earned more points than what I had, because I feel like many reliability issues cost a lot of points. This season, let’s see. Hopefully we have a very strong car, then we can have a lot more points than what we had last season, and then try to finish where we finished off in terms of the constructors’ championship.

“That will be very good for the team. If on my side I can show my potential hopefully I can stay much longer in F1, and have a longer contract.

“I think that’s always the aim for all the drivers. The first few years it’s very normal, you have a single year or one-plus-one contract, but then after a few years, you get a longer one,” Zhou concluded.

Zhou scored points three times in 2022, and finished 18th in the F1 Drivers’ Championship.