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Is Alfa Romeo’s second seat confirmed?

A photo from a Shanghai Alfa Romeo dealership has sparked a conversation...

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“China’s first F1 Driver” – An Alfa Romeo Dealership in Guanyu Zhou’s hometown of Shanghai has put up a banner congratulating the driver on his signing. Could this mean Guanyu Zhou is set for F1 next year?

This “announcement” of sorts could be considered premature considering Alfa Romeo hasn’t even announced their second driver yet.

However, it has been predicted that either Zhou or Piastri would take the seat if Giovinazzi continued to underperform.

Image Credit: @SpannersReady on Twitter

The banner reads:

“Zhou will join the Alfa Romeo Team. China’s First F1 Driver. Come on China. Come on Alfa Romeo”

Zhou is currently second in the F2 standings with UNI-Virtuoso Racing, just behind Oscar Piastri.

He is currently a member of the Alpine Academy, but with Esteban Ocon’s seat confirmed until 2024 and Fernando Alonso confirmed for at least another year, Zhou has had to look elsewhere for a 2022 ticket to F1.

It was reported that Zhou had around €30 million in financial backing from Chinese investors who are desperate to see their first Chinese F1 driver.

With the rumored Andretti deal falling through, Alfa Romeo will be looking for investment elsewhere and the €30 million would definitely sweeten the driver deal.

Zhou will need to get his super license but if he finishes the F2 championship in the position he is in now, there shouldn’t be an issue.

This signing would also mean that China will have its first-ever F1 driver. Ma Quingha is the only ever Chinese driver to drive an F1 car but has only ever completed practice sessions.

China is a growing market for F1. F1 has extended their contract with F1 until 2025 so it would be great for the crowd to have a home driver to cheer for.

Although it is yet to be confirmed, this banner adds an interesting twist to the story of Alfa Romeo.

The rumours surrounding Alfa Romeo’s and Zhou to appear around the Zandvoort weekend. This was following Kimi Raikonnen’s retirement and people began to question who would replace him.

It was later announced that Valtteri Bottas would make the move to make way for George Russell.

Bottas’ announcement didn’t stop the rumours.

Now that the spotlight was on Alfa Romeo, many began to question Giovinazzi’s seat.

Giovinazzi is currently 18th in the championship with a single point to his name. Since the rumours started, Giovinazzi hasn’t had the easiest time. After qualifying into 7th at Zandvoort, when his seat was just starting to get questioned, it has gone downhill.

The Italian had no radio in Sochi, he ignored team orders in Turkey and had a frustrating strategy for his race in Mexico.

Giovinazzi himself has admitted it’s “not easy” to race with an unclear future. This hasn’t helped his hopes of continuing his career.

His races haven’t been successful, and the youngsters in F2 look ever more promising as their season goes on.

Hopefully, we will all get some answers soon as it has been reported that Alfa Romeo will make their announcement after the Brazil GP Weekend. It’s always exciting to see new blood in the sport but it is inevitable sad to see someone leave.

Will Alfa Romeo have a completely new driver lineup for 2022? Only time will tell.

Feature Image: Formula1.com

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