Zhou Guanyu will remain at Alfa Romeo for the 2023 Formula 1 season after the team confirmed he had been retained for a second year.

Zhou made history when he became the first-ever Chinese driver to race in F1 at the opening race of the season in Bahrain, going on to score points on his debut outing.

Alongside veteran team-mate Valtteri Bottas, Zhou has helped Alfa Romeo to its best season of the V6 hybrid era, as it sits sixth in the constructors’ championship with six races remaining.

Further top-10 finishes in Canada and Monza have bolstered Zhou’s reputation among the Swiss-based outfit, who announced on Tuesday he would be staying put for 2023.

“I am happy and grateful to Alfa Romeo F1 Team ORLEN for the opportunity to be part of the team for another season,” said Zhou.

“Making it to Formula One was a dream come true and the feeling of competing for the first time in a race will live with me forever: the team has been incredibly supportive, welcoming me from day one and helping me adapt to the most complex series in motorsport.

“There is more that I want to achieve in this sport and with the team, and the hard work we have put together since the start of the year is just the first step towards where we want to be next season.

“There is still a lot to learn, a lot to develop but I am confident in our work: I am looking forward to the next chapter of our story together.”

Alfa Romeo team principal Frederic Vasseur felt Zhou has been one of the “best surprises” of the season in his rookie campaign, hailing his ability to quickly adapt to F1 off the back of three years in F2.

“I am looking forward to continuing working with Zhou,” Vasseur said. “From day one with the team, at the Abu Dhabi test last year, he has impressed me with his approach to work and this is always a very positive trait.

“We knew he was quick, but the way he adapted to Formula One in such a short time has been one of the best surprises of our season.

“He is a very nice guy, everyone in the team likes both his personality and attitude. He has had the humility to ask questions and learn, from the engineers as well as Valtteri, and the intelligence to apply all the information he got to improve race after race.

“He will have this experience to draw on next season, and I am sure he will make another step forward as we continue to grow our team.”

With Zhou retaining his seat at Alfa Romeo, it means there is only four seats left to be filled on next year’s grid.

Alpine, Haas and Williams all yet to confirm their full driver line-up for next year, while AlphaTauri is hinging on Pierre Gasly’s future being resolved amid his link to Alpine, with Nyck de Vries lined up to replace him should his release from the Red Bull fold been agreed.