Alfa Romeo is set to look at other drivers after Guanyu Zhou proposed some exorbitant contract demands.
The Chinese driver seemed to be the favourite to replace Antonio Giovinazzi at Alfa Romeo next season. He will no doubt come with a great sponsorship package from China. However, the rookie has demanded a multi-year contract, a demand Alfa is unwilling to accept.
According to Blick.ch, Zhou may have taken himself off Alfa’s list with his demands. They are now looking at other options to partner new arrival Valtteri Bottas next season. Frederic Vasseur, the Team Principal of Alfa Romeo, does not want to sign Zhou on a three-year deal.
This has now put other drivers in the picture, with Oscar Piastri and Theo Pourchaire the favourites other than Zhou. Alfa is in talks with both drivers.
Pourchaire is a talent who races for Sauber. The second seat in 2022 would not be good for him, as he could always gain another year of experience in F2 before making the jump to F1. If Vasseur succumbs to Zhou’s demands, Pourchaire would no longer remain in contention.
Piastri, on the other hand, won the Formula 3 title in his rookie season. At the time of writing, he also leads the F2 championship in his debut season. He is a ridiculously talented driver, and looks ready to make the switch to F1.
Piastri is part of Alpine’s driver academy. But given Alpine have Esteban Ocon tied to a long-term deal, and their other seat filled by the legendary Fernando Alonso, his chances of racing for his parent team are minimal.
If talks with Piastri fall through, he would be forced to accept a role as a reserve driver for Alfa. Either way, the whole thing seems like a strategic move to pressurise Zhou into joining on a one-year deal.