Alpine’s announcement that Esteban Ocon will leave the team after the 2024 season has stirred interest among potential replacements. One notable contender is Sauber driver Zhou Guanyu, who has expressed openness to joining Alpine for 2025.

By the Asian Motorsport Team

Alpine’s driver lineup for 2025 remains uncertain. Pierre Gasly’s contract also expires at the end of the current season, and the team has yet to make a decision regarding his future. This uncertainty opens the door for new talent, and Zhou, a product of the Renault Driver Academy, is a strong candidate.

Zhou made his Formula 1 debut with Sauber in 2022, driving under the Alfa Romeo banner. Despite only securing single-year deals so far, Zhou has shown potential and brings significant financial backing, estimated at £28 million. This financial support could be a decisive factor for teams like Alpine.

The possibility of Zhou returning to Alpine is further fueled by his history with the team. “With Alpine, I always had a very good connection in the past,” Zhou mentioned. His tenure at Sauber, however, has been mixed, with his best finish this season being P11 at the Bahrain GP. He remains one of the few drivers yet to score points in 2024, alongside his teammate Valtteri Bottas and Williams’ Logan Sargeant.

Alpine’s potential interest in Zhou aligns with their strategic objectives. Zhou’s presence would not only enhance the team’s marketing reach, particularly in China, but also bring additional financial resources. This dual benefit makes him an attractive prospect for Alpine.

Rumors have also surfaced about Chinese automotive giant Geely’s interest in investing in the Alpine team. Given that both Geely and Zhou are Chinese, this potential partnership could make strategic sense. Geely’s involvement could provide Alpine with additional financial backing and technological advancements, further enhancing the team’s competitive edge.

Looking ahead, Zhou remains open to various opportunities. “I’m open to other teams or discussions about my future,” Zhou stated, indicating his willingness to explore all options available to him in Formula 1.

As the 2024 season progresses, Alpine’s decisions regarding their driver lineup will be closely watched. Zhou’s potential move could be a significant development, bringing both competitive and commercial advantages to the team.

Header photo credit: Alpine F1 Team

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