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Camilla Care

The Chinese F1 crowd is turning up the volume ahead of Zhou’s home debut

Vaseline 1 month ago

The Chinese driver finished ninth in Saturday’s sprint and sixteenth in Sunday’s race

Shanghai:

Chants of “Guanyu, Guanyu, Guanyu” drowned out all other sounds at the Shanghai International Circuit on Sunday as Zhou Guanyu, China’s first and only Formula 1 driver, stepped onto the grid ahead of his first Chinese Grand Prix.

Sauber’s Zhou, racing in his hometown at the first Chinese Grand Prix since 2019, has failed to score a point in the first four races of the season, but that has dampened the enthusiasm of the estimated 60,000 fans who attend every day were not affected.

“2004 I was here, even before the first corner, just watching the race, dreaming of becoming an F1 driver in the future, and twenty years later here we are,” said 24-year-old Zhou on the starting grid for the main building. stand.

“It’s great to see the crowd, it’s of course great to be here. After missing the Grand Prix at home for a few years, I’m just really happy that I’m still here and I’ll try to give it my all. “

Having a Chinese driver is a boon for F1 and owner Liberty Media, who see the country as an important market.

Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali has previously said that China could host two races in one day. Xu Zheng, who traveled from Beijing for the race, said Zhou’s significance to Chinese motorsport cannot be overstated.

“A decade or two ago, when I was new to F1, it was unthinkable to have a Chinese driver racing in a Formula 1 car,” he added.

“Zhou Guanyu’s experience and story will certainly inspire more Chinese practitioners of the sport or children who share the same dream of striving for the future.” Zhou has enjoyed a relatively successful home Grand Prix so far, finishing ninth in Saturday’s sprint and 16th in Sunday’s race. He had qualified last in the past three races.

“This weekend has blown my mind so far,” said Zhou.