Zhou Guanyu touted as F1 driver who swapped China for Sheffield 10 years ago reaches new heights

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Sheffield-based Alfa Romeo driver Zhou Guanyu qualified for Q3 for the first time in his career at the Canadian Grand Prix on Saturday. Guanyu will start 10th on the grid for this afternoon’s race in Montreal after a time of 1:24.030 in Q3, ahead of big names such as Sergio Perez, Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel.

Guanyu, 23, was born in China and started karting when he was just eight years old. But it was his love for karting that prompted him to move around the world 10 years ago as he bravely left his native country for Sheffield in search of a more competitive racing environment. .

And it didn’t take long for him to enroll in his first team as he joined Strawberry Racing, where he showed his special talent by winning the Super 1 National Rotax Max Junior Championship and the Rotax Max Euro Challenge. Then in 2015 Guanyu joined Prema Powerteam to compete in the Italian Formula 4 championship, and once again he was one of the stars.

He ended the season as runner-up and top rookie after winning all three round 2 races at Monza, while consistently finishing on the podium. He only spent one season in F4 before moving to F3 the following season to drive for the Motopark team.

The transition to F3 was much more difficult for Guanyu than F4 but despite finishing 13th and two eighth places he joined UNI-Virtuosi Racing to compete in the FIA ​​Formula 2 Championship in 2019. Guanyu was a success in F2, earning seventh place. , sixth and third places which allowed him to earn his big step towards Alfa Romeo before the 2022 season.

He became China’s first full-time Formula 1 driver and is currently partnered with experienced Valterri Bottas. Guanyu has gained just one point so far in his debut F1 campaign, finishing 10th in the Bahrain Grand Prix.

After such a solid qualifying campaign in Canada, however, he hopes he can add to that tally and continue to make history as a Chinese driver, while turning heads in his adopted South Yorkshire.

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