From Shanghai to Sheffield: Guanyu Zhou makes Formula 1 debut

Written by Athena Stavrou

After starting his racing career in Sheffield, Guanyu Zhou drove in his first Formula 1 world championship race yesterday.

The 22-year-old racing driver, who has been signed with Alfa Romeo for his debut season, is originally from Shanghai but moved to Sheffield in 2012 to pursue competitive racing.

He began his British career with Strawberry Racing UK, a Sheffield based racing company and team, where he won multiple titles before being scouted by the Ferrari Driver Academy.

Guanyu Zhou said: “I dreamt from a young age of climbing as high as I can in a sport that I am passionate about and now the dream has come true.

“It is a privilege for me to start my Formula 1 racing career with an iconic team, a team that has introduced so much young talent into Formula 1 in the past. Now the dream is reality.”

While in Sheffield, he attended Westbourne school and Birkdale school, racing in his spare time.

Guanyu Zhou at Woodbourne school.

John Hicks, Headmaster of Westbourne school said: “He was a lovely lad, he got on famously well with the other students. He would disappear off quite regularly to the Italian circuit and tell us how many tyres he’d burnt off at the weekend”

Being one of the only Formula 1 drivers from Sheffield, he is also the first ever Chinese driver in F1 history.

Mr Zhou said: “To be the first ever Chinese driver in Formula 1 is a breakthrough for Chinese motorsport history.

“I know a lot of hopes will be resting on me and, as ever, I will take this as motivation to become better and achieve more.”

After leaving Strawberry Racing UK in 2015, he has since gone on to race in Formula 4, Formula 3 and Formula 2, before finally making his Formula 1 debut yesterday at the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Yesterday, Mr Zhou qualified 15th, but quickly recovered and finished 10th in the race to score a point.

Frédéric Vasseur, Team Principal Alfa Romeo Racing said: “He is a very talented driver, as his results in F2 have shown, and we are looking forward to helping his talent flourish even more in Formula One”

Written by Athena Stavrou

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