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Alonso looking forward to racing F1 rookie Zhou in 2022

Formula 1 will welcome just one rookie in 2022 in the form of Alfa Romeo's Guanyu Zhou. Fernando Alonso - who worked with the Chinese driver at Alpine - is pleased that the youngster has been given this chance.

Fernando Alonso says he is happy that Guanyu Zhou has been given an opportunity in Formula 1 ahead of his debut this season. Zhou will join Valtteri Bottas at Alfa Romeo in 2022, and is the only rookie driver set to line up on the grid when the calendar gets underway with the Bahrain Grand Prix in March. Alonso - who is now the most experienced F1 driver in the field following Kimi Raikkonen's retirement - worked with Zhou at Alpine, where the Chinese driver was a member of the team's academy, and is pleased to see him getting his chance in the sport. "I'm happy for him," Alonso told media including RacingNews365.com . "He's a nice kid, and we obviously had him on the academy this year, so I had a few days with him in testing. Also last year when I was testing the old Renault on my comeback to the sport, I share with Zhou a couple of days in Bahrain and Abu Dhabi. "So yeah, we have a good relationship, as I said, [so I'm] happy for him with this opportunity."

"Good for Formula 1 in general" to welcome Zhou

Whilst Alonso acknowledges that Zhou's step up unfortunately resulted in Antonio Giovinazzi losing his seat at Alfa Romeo, he believes that it is positive for the sport to have the rookie, as well as it being a good thing for Zhou's home country of China. "Antonio is stepping out, which is always how it works [in] sport," the Spaniard added. "But it's good for Formula 1 in general, I think, [and] for China, for Zhou. We are all looking forward to race with him, and [to] welcome him in the best way possible." Alonso's Alpine teammate Esteban Ocon has also welcomed Zhou's step up to F1 from Formula 2. "It's fantastic to see him getting to Formula 1," Ocon said. "I've worked with him obviously quite a bit this year, shared an FP1 with him in Austria as well. "He was developing very fast in the F1 car. I don't think it will take him long to get up to speed, but I definitely wish him the best."

RESULTS 2024 F1 Hungarian Grand Prix - Qualifying