Taking eight poles in 2020, UNI-Virtuosi have rightly earned the tag of Qualifying specialists in Formula 2, a factor that Championship leader Guanyu Zhou feels will be vital in Monte Carlo where starting position is critical.
Arriving in Monaco with the Championship lead and as one of just four drivers with past experience of turning the F2 car around the principality, Zhou is hopeful of strengthening his hand in Round 2, starting with the four points on offer in Qualifying.
“Qualifying is the most important thing here compared to normal circuits, because I think it’s going to be a bit of a train in the races,” said Zhou. “The team have had good results in the past in qualifying here; Luca (Ghiotto) qualified second last time.
“We definitely have the material and the equipment to be up there, and we have proven that in the last two years, even with the new 18-inch tyres, because it could have been different with the new tyres.
“Having a strong car gives me more confidence to show everyone what I can do and maximise my potential this weekend. I am feeling good with the team, with the car that we have. My teammate is pushing me to the limit as well, and I am really excited to be driving here, around the most exciting street circuit, after the race was cancelled last year.”
With two podiums, including the Feature Race victory in Round 1, Zhou could hardly have gotten off to a better start to the season. It’s in stark contrast to the frustration of the 2020 opener in Spielberg, where the Chinese driver failed to score after suffering from mechanical issues while battling for the win in the Feature Race.
On the back off his impressive Round 1 performance, Zhou said he’s arrived in Monaco “more confident” than he was at the circuit two years ago.
“It was tough the first time coming to Monaco,” Zhou continued. “2019 was about getting my head around Monaco because it’s not exactly an easy track. I think that it’s one of the most difficult tracks in the world. It’s really challenging.
“I really enjoyed it last time I was here though, getting a podium. This year, having more experience will help me. I’m starting the weekend more confident than I was two years ago.”