Guanyu Zhou made his Formula 1 debut in Austria with Alpine, taking the seat of Fernando Alonso for the FP1 session, and the Spaniard praised him, saying the Chinese did a great job.
Zhou is currently leading the F2 championship, and he is part of the junior program of Alpine. The team decided to give him the chance to debut in F1 during the first practice session of the Austrian GP. After FP1, Alonso spent some words about the young Chinese driver.
“Yes, it was good to share the day with him and the preparation on the last week; he’s very professional, he’s hard-working on the simulator the last couple of weeks, and I think he did enjoy today.
“He executed FP1 perfectly in my opinion, slowly building the pace, and no stress with many things. It was not an easy FP1 with traffic, with the [practice] start at the end, so there are a couple of exercises that you need to execute – like the start, the formation lap, etcetera – that he did manage very well, so it was a good day for him for sure.”
In FP2, Alonso re-took his seat and started his afternoon work with the team, saying that finding the pace was not difficult despite not having run in FP1.
“I was up to speed in Lap 1 in FP2 and the car felt very similar to last weekend, so it was a good opportunity when you have two weekends in a row on the same track to give the FP1 to the young drivers.
“So let’s see if later in the year there are more opportunities for Zhou,” he added.