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Guanyu Zhou

Ex-F1 drivers urge for Zhou to be offered new contract

Former F1 drivers turned pundits Damon Hill and Karun Chandhok have advocated on behalf of Zhou Guanyu being offered a new contract to stay in F1 - on commercial grounds.

Zhou China after
To news overview © XPBimages

Zhou Guanyu experienced his first home race in F1 at last weekend's Chinese Grand Prix, but Damon Hill and Karun Chandhok believe it should not be his last.

The 24-year-old driver's F1 future is looking uncertain and the news that Nico Hulkenberg is about to sign on to the Audi project, taking one of the two seats at Stake F1 for 2025, does nothing to alleviate those concerns.

At the Chinese Grand Prix, the Sky Sports F1 pundits endorsed Zhou remaining in the series, highlighting his commercial viability, owing to the success of the event at the Shanghai International Circuit.

When it was put to the pair that amid the uncertainty, Zhou has to "enjoy the day", they both suggested it should not be his last opportunity to compete in F1 in front of his home crowd.

"I think he [Zhou Guanyu] needs to sign a contract now," Hill replied on Sky Sports F1, before the 1996 drivers' champion added: “It has become very apparent how valuable he is to Formula 1.”

In addition to capturing the signature of Nico Hulkenberg, Audi are in hot pursuit of Carlos Sainz, with the driver a free agent for next season.

If the German car manufacturer is able to sign both, it would leave both Zhou and team-mate Valtteri Bottas in search of a new home.

Chandhok, who raced in F1 between 2010 and 2011, was in agreement with his colleague.

"100 percent, and if you’re Stefano Domenicali, you’d be batting for him up and down the pit lane, trying to get him a seat," he added.

“You imagine Audi have got other plans, but there’s got to be a seat somewhere for him on that grid.”

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