Zhou Guanyu: “Despite not scoring points, we achieved our target”

Zhou Guanyu was pleased to see his Alfa Romeo F1 Team ORLEN outfit secure sixth place in the Constructors’ Championship in 2022, and the Chinese driver felt it was just what the Hinwil-based team deserved.

Zhou concluded his rookie FIA Formula 1 World Championship season with a twelfth-place finish at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi, even if the team sacrificed his strategy in order to attempt delay the Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant F1 Team, who they were fighting with in the championship.

Despite Lance Stroll and Sebastian Vettel finishing inside the points for Aston Martin, Alfa Romeo secured sixth spot on countback, much to delight of Zhou.

“I am so proud of this team, not just for tonight but for the whole season,” said Zhou.  “We gave everything in the race and, despite not scoring points, we achieved our target, which was finishing P6 in the Championship.

“We had to sacrifice my strategy to hold on through the last laps, and I think we did a good job with that. We truly gave it all out there, it was an amazing fight on track and I think also the best overtake I’ve done all season.

“We got what we deserved after such a long year.”

Zhou ended his rookie season with six points, scored across three top ten finishes, the best of which was an eighth place in the Canadian Grand Prix in June.  He was sometimes on the wrong side of reliability in 2022, but he is positive that Alfa Romeo can solve those issues during the off-season.

“It’s been an amazing rookie season, we started high and it’s good to see we finished on a high as well,” he said.  “Of course, it hasn’t always gone as we hoped for, we had quite a few reliability issues, but I’m positive we’ll get it all fixed over the winter and have a much better season next year.

“Overall, I really enjoyed my first Formula One season, with all the support from my team, my teammate Valtteri, and all the fans. I am grateful for all this and I can’t wait for the next one.”

“You can see what it means for everyone of us” – Valtteri Bottas

Team-mate Valtteri Bottas scored the majority of Alfa Romeo’s points in 2022, but he ended his first campaign with the team with a fifteenth-place finish after struggles throughout the weekend in Abu Dhabi.

Bottas had been eliminated in Q1 during Saturday’s Qualifying session and then was unable to make too much of an impression on race day, but, like Zhou, he was delighted to see Alfa Romeo beat Aston Martin to sixth place in the Constructors’ Championship battle.

“I am really pleased for the team, it’s an important result and you can see what it means for everyone of us,” said Bottas.  “It was close, very close in our battle for sixth in the championship, but we did it and I am proud of everyone tonight.

“The only thing that mattered to us today was the standings results and the strategy we chose was quite defensive, trying to hold position and slow down our rivals when we found ourselves in front of them.

“It worked, but it was a tense few moments in the final lap: waiting to hear if we had made it gave me a bit of a sense of déjà vu – although tonight we had a much more positive ending than last time around.”

Bottas says he is proud with how the team has performed throughout the season, with the Finn feeling they improved leaps and bounds from where they were in pre-season testing where a tough season was predicted by many.

“I am proud of how the team came a long way since winter testing: we scored a lot of points at the beginning of the year and those results made all the difference at the end of the season,” he said.

“The spirit in the team is excellent, we can be proud of our work and this will help us continue our progression next year. There’s plenty to look forward to.”

Valtteri Bottas ended only fifteenth in Abu Dhabi – Credit: Florent Gooden / DPPI