Zhou makes emotional Alfa Romeo factory visit

Zhou Guanyu had an emotional visit to the Alfa Romeo factory in Naples

Zhou Guanyu had an emotional visit to the Alfa Romeo factory in Naples

Zhou Guanyu has recounted an emotional visit to the Alfa Romeo factory in Naples during the three-week gap since the Australian Grand Prix.

During the break, the Chinese driver spent time recharging his batteries and in the Alfa Romeo Sauber simulator at Hinwill.

However, the visit to Naples was a standout for the 23-year-old.

“It was quite a nice moment to see the Alfa Romeo factory where they make the road cars back in Naples,” he said.

“That was a long trip, but people were very emotional.

“I think not many drivers have ever been there.

“People were crying, so it was very emotional for me. It was good to make them happy.

“These Italian workers, especially, I think, are very into motorsports and Formula 1 fans, so seeing a driver was a good show.”

Zhou also took to the Italian motorways in one of Sauber’s previous model cars – a C32 from 2013.

“That was quite something,” he admitted.

“It was a V8 engine – not the first time I’ve driven a V8 car, I did one with the Lotus in the past, but it definitely sounds really incredible.”

Zhou was among the points last time out in Melbourne after being classified ninth.

It was only the second time Alfa Romeo Sauber had scored in 2023 – Valtteri Bottas picked up four points for eighth in Bahrain.

The squad sits eighth in the constructors’ championship, just a point behind Haas and two back from Alpine heading into this weekend.

“I’m actually quite excited to come here,” Zhou said of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

“Obviously I made it through Melbourne safely, but also it gives, especially for us, a bit more opportunity, window open, for points.

“Last year for me, it was a really good weekend until my failure, and I had to stop.

“For this track, it’s all about confidence,” he added.

“Firstly top speed and then the confidence driver has on braking, because it’s all like 90-degree corners, it’s hard braking.

“So if you’re confident you can out-perform your car or underperform easily.”

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