Championship leader Guanyu Zhou is set to make his debut in an official Formula 1 session in FP1 on Friday with Alpine, standing in for Fernando Alonso. The Alpine Test Driver has been influenced by plenty of people on the way to his current title charge in Formula 2, but who has had the biggest impact?
We sat down with the UNI-Virtuosi racer ahead of his FP1 debut to discuss the people who have played a part in his journey to date. From sporting heroes to current Formula 1 drivers and members of his family.
1. KOBE BRYANT
“Kobe Bryant was my sporting idol. He was someone who I really looked up to and still do. To be as talented and as hardworking as he was, was just unbelievable. Vanessa Bryant said that Kobe would never take a shortcut in basketball, and I think that's a lesson to follow no matter what sport you are playing.”
2. LEWIS HAMILTON
“Just because you have got a championship winning car, that does not mean that it is easy to win races. Lewis Hamilton may not have the perfect Saturday or even the perfect start, but he has always found ways to make everything work on the Sunday. He is a really mature driver and always thinking 20 laps ahead. I am loving his battle with Max (Verstappen) this year. He is someone that I really look up to.”
3. MY FAMILY
“Without the support of my family, I would not be here chasing my dream. My family have given me the opportunity to do what I love in F2, one step below Formula 1. I am the only one in my family who is interested in racing, which makes things even more difficult. My dad loves cars, though, which is as close as you can get to racing.
“When I was young, there wasn’t really anyone from China who was doing this, and certainly, no one who had reached Formula 1. That meant that I was always going in blind to a certain extent, in regards to my next steps.
“There was no one whose path I could follow. I moved to the UK, and no one had really done that from China before, so I didn’t know where to go or what team to join, and I certainly didn’t know if I was doing the right thing.
“I made sure to keep asking for advice and I just tried to make the best choice that I could. It wasn’t easy for my family, for those reasons, but they knew I had this dream.”