China’s F1 Hopeful Zhou Guanyu Claims his First 2021 Formula 2 Win in Bahrain

Chinese race car driver Zhou Guanyu claimed his second title on Sunday after winning his first race of the 2021 Formula 2 season in Bahrain.

Despite starting from the pole position, Zhou had a slow beginning and dropped to as low as sixth during the race. Zhou’s performance significantly improved after changing to soft tired. The Chinese racer came back up to second place after the 23rd lap in the 32-lap race and reclaimed the lead on the 27th lap.

Currently driving for the British racing team UNI-Virtuosi, Zhou won his first F2 race title in Russia’s Sochi Autodrom in September 2020. He is also the first Chinese racer to claim a victory in the Formula 2 competitions.

Following his victory in Bahrain, Zhou took his celebrations to social media. “What a race; what a victory; thanks everyone for your support,” said the Chinese racer on Twitter in English and Chinese. “This champion title is for every one of you who supported me. It is a long and tough path, but I will continue to work harder to break through my limits until reaching the top of the pyramid,” he added.

The 21-year-old from Shanghai is a car racing prodigy who started his racing career in karting when he was 7 years old. At the age of 10, Zhou quickly stood out from China’s karting competitions by winning eight championship titles in China.

Following his success in China, Zhou moved to the United Kingdom to pursue a career in competitive racing. He was recruited by the Ferrari Driver Academy in 2014 and began entering the Formula 4 races in 2015. In 2019, Zhou joined the Alpine Academy, formerly known as the Renault Sport Academy, and had his first F1 experience as a test driver for Renault in 2020. He continued to carry out that responsibility for the Alpine F1 team in 2021.

In an interview with in February 2021, Zhou expressed his interest in securing a spot in the 2022 Formula 1 season. The Chinese racer finished sixth in his second F2 season in 2020. In order to ensure he gets enough points to acquire the Super License to become an F1 driver, Zhou will need to finish in the top five for each race in the 2021 season. And his win in Bahrain is undoubtedly a good start.

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Speaking of his 2021 season prospects in the interview, Zhou expressed confidence in reaching his goal. He acknowledged that entering the F1 race would be challenging due to the limited number of spare seats per year, but Zhou said he would explore all options and stay focused on himself.

In one earlier interview with Chinese media The Paper, Zhou believed that he had the ‘once in a generation’ opportunity to become the first Chinese racer to compete in Formula 1 competitions.