Guanyu Zhou, Formula 1’s only Chinese driver, is now “on par” with his highly experienced race-winning teammate Valtteri Bottas.
That is the view of Alfa Romeo’s engineering chief Xevi Pujolar, following a notably lacklustre start to 2023 for both Finn Bottas and the Swiss F1 team.
“In 2022, Bottas was still Zhou’s teacher,” veteran Swiss journalist Roger Benoit wrote in Blick newspaper.
“Now the apprentice is taking advantage of the moment. The Spaniard Xevi Pujolar is still being diplomatic about it.”
Pujolar is then quoted as saying when asked about Bottas and 23-year-old Zhou: “I would say that the two of them are pretty much on par now, which is good for us.”
As for Alfa Romeo’s start to the 2023 season, Zhou thinks the Hinwil based team – to be taken over by Audi ahead of the German carmaker’s F1 entry in 2026 – is “similar to where the McLarens are”.
“I think we are just fighting for the back foot of the points,” he said.
“It’s clear there are three or four teams clearly ahead of the rest – but I think from P8 downwards it is very tight. Everybody can be grabbing these final points finishes.”