New Alfa Romeo driver Guanyu Zhou believes there is no “better option” than to have Valtteri Bottas as his team-mate for his rookie season in Formula 1.
Zhou has made the step up from Formula 2 to join the F1 grid for this year, becoming the first Chinese driver to race in the series.
Joining the Alfa Romeo squad, Zhou will partner 10-time grand prix Bottas, who made the switch to the Swiss-based team after ending his five-year stay at world champions Mercedes.
Both drivers got their first taste of driving Alfa Romeo’s car in the Abu Dhabi post-season tyre test, and ahead of working alongside Bottas in 2022, Zhou sees the Finn as a “great reference” for his first year in F1.
“For a rookie, there is no better option than to have Bottas as your teammate in your first season,” Zhou said in a recent interview on social media, as quoted by Motorsport.com.
“If I’m going to beat him, I know I need to work very hard and adapt very quickly to the whole of F1, and to the new car, from the very beginning.
“But I think what’s more important is that he can help me get through the learning curve. He is a very open driver. He shares his information and discusses with the team and with me, which is a very helpful point.
“After all, he’s had so many podiums and wins in F1. Among all the drivers, there are only a few who can outqualify Hamilton, and he is one of them.
“I think he’s a great reference and a very strong teammate. I hope to improve together with him next year.”
Zhou will head into his F1 debut in March off the back of finishing third in the drivers’ standings in F2 last year where he claimed five wins.
Asked about his prospects for his rookie campaign, Zhou stressed he wanted to focus primarily on his personal development, but is targeting a points finis this season.
“First of all, I set a small goal to get points,” he said. “I don’t know how competitive the car will be next season. We need to wait until the beginning of the season to get a clear picture.
“Personally, I would like to get points. But at the beginning of the season, I won’t be thinking if it will be achievable at the first two races; just not to have too much pressure.
“I want to enjoy racing in F1, to learn from my teammate and the engineers, and improve myself in all aspects.
“When I make improvement in all areas, the results will then naturally come.”