NUERBURG, GERMANY - OCTOBER 11: Antonio Giovinazzi of Italy driving the (99) Alfa Romeo Racing C39 Ferrari on track during the F1 Eifel Grand Prix at Nuerburgring on October 11, 2020 in Nuerburg, Germany. (Photo by Wolfgang Rattay - Pool/Getty Images)

Guanyu Zhou has been marked as the favourite to partner Valtteri Bottas at Alfa Romeo next season.

Zhou has been one of the standout performers in F2 this season. Although he does have some significant backing from Chinese sponsors, he has shown tremendous pace. As a result, the 22-year-old driver is being looked at to make the step up to F1.

However, despite Zhou being marked as the favourite, Alfa Romeo boss Frederic Vasseur insisted that the wait is still on.

“Zhou is doing a good job in F2. For sure he is on the list,” Vasseur said.

“But it’s not only due to the fact that he is Chinese, that he is a frontrunner in F2. He won some races, and I think every single team in F1 is looking after him.

“But we have the first four (F2) events (which) went a bit different. Now they are coming back to more standard tracks. The young guys in F2, they have more experience, and then we will see in two or three events where we are and what is the evolution of every single driver in F2.”

Zhou favourite for second 2022 Alfa Romeo F1 seat
Zhou (pictured) is the favourite to land the second Alfa Romeo seat. Source: autosport.com

Rookie problems

The other candidate Alfa is looking at, Theo Pourchaire, has also done well. However, Vasseur hinted at his lack of experience in an F1 setup could prove to be his undoing.

“We have to let to Theo the time to improve, and to build up not only the pace, because that he has the speed, but all the education around this,” Vasseur said.

“He was 17 two months ago. F1 is very complicated. We have a very limited number of test days.

“Next year we have a new car and we could have reliability issues. It means that we could arrive to Bahrain with a very low mileage and we have to consider this also. For the drivers it’s never easy, it’s a challenge, but we have to give them time for sure,” he concluded.

Read more: Hakkinen backs Bottas’ move to Alfa Romeo – “His experience will help them develop”

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