New Alfa Romeo driver Guanyu Zhou responded to being called a pay driver, saying he has had to work for everything.

Zhou joins F1 and Alfa Romeo as the first Chinese driver in the sport’s history. His arrival will see the team earn a significant amount of money in the form of sponsorships, with Chinese sponsors and European companies targeting the Chinese market eager to invest.

With Alfa having a gold mine on their hands, and with the team targeting a return to the glory days of old, it becomes imperative to play the cards shrewdly. Doing so would be profitable on both commercial and racing fronts.

In that vein, Zhou responded to being called a pay driver, saying he has had to work hard to get where he is today. 

“In China, it is very difficult to get to where I am now,” Zhou told the Swiss newspaper Blick, as quoted by grandpx.news

“I had to pursue this dream with full commitment from a very young age. The risk of me not making it into Formula 1 was 80 percent.

Zhou (pictured) will race in F1. Source: grandpx.news

“I always had to prove myself in Formula 4, Formula 3 and Formula 2. I had to always win races and fight for the title.”

Perceptions

“I can’t control what certain people think,” the Chinese driver continued. 

“But I think I showed in Formula 2 that I have what it takes to be in Formula 1. I won races there and fought for the title. Now it’s up to me to show my skills in Formula 1 as well.

“But I do want to achieve for China in motorsport what Yao Ming achieved for China in basketball. A lot of Chinese people are already interested in Formula 1, but if I do good work here, I’m sure more people in China will follow my career.”

Read more: Bottas reveals why he turned down Williams offer after Mercedes sack – “It was either them or Alfa Romeo”

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