While it was already a foregone conclusion that Bottas would continue on with the Swiss-based team, uncertainty previously surrounded the future of Zhou. Despite this, the Alfa Romeo team has now officiated a third consecutive year with Zhou. In an impending rebranding phase, the team is planning to revert back to the original Sauber identity for the next two years, and officially transitioning to the Audi name in 2026.
Simultaneously, the current leading champion of FIA F2, Theo Pourchaire, will continue serving in his reserve and simulator driving roles.
Revealing details about the decision, the team’s representative, Alessandro Alunni Bravi, stated, “The decision to continue our journey with our driver line-up unchanged is testament to the investment we have made in our project.” He emphasized that things in F1 do not change overnight, hence their commitment to stability and team-building during this significant transitional period.
In terms of their drivers, Bravi praised both Bottas and Zhou for their proven skills and harmonious teamwork. He acknowledged Bottas’s leadership and Zhou’s substantial progress over the past two years, looking forward to more in 2024. He closed by vouching that their responsibility now is to provide both drivers with a competitive car and optimal conditions for performance.
The signed agreement for Zhou signifies an opportunity to partake in his home country race, a chance which was missed from 2020 – 2023 due to the pandemic-induced cancellation of the Shanghai event.
“Signing again with the team is always a great feeling, especially when we know how things are shaping up,” Zhou expressed. He voiced his pride in being part of the Alfa Romeo team and thanked them for trusting in his capabilities. He also expressed his enthusiasm regarding the chance to finally race in front of his home crowd in China.
Meanwhile, Bottas flagged up the team’s behind-the-scenes efforts that have been in place despite struggling in track performance this year. The Finn reflected on the positive dynamics within the team, his mutual respect and competitive collaboration with Zhou, and the anticipation of further improvements.
“Every step forward we make is a step forward for this year and next,” Bottas affirmed, highlighting the team’s dedication both on and off the tracks.