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Guanyu Zhou

Zhou reveals negative Audi impact over Alfa Romeo contract talks

Zhou Guanyu's future with Alfa Romeo beyond the current season is currently unknown

Zhou Italy
To news overview © XPBimages

Zhou Guanyu feels the impending arrival of Audi in Formula 1 is not making his contract renewal talks with Alfa Romeo "easy".

Alfa Romeo will sever its ties with the Sauber Group at the end of the current campaign, having taken over the naming rights of the squad in 2019.

The decision was made after Sauber reached an agreement with Audi - the German manufacturer will take a majority stake in the team for 2026 when new technical regulations will come into play.

Zhou had originally been expected to stay at the Hinwil-based outfit for next year alongside Valtteri Bottas, but that prospect has taken a hit in recent weeks.

Reports suggest that Zhou is in danger of not being retained - however the Chinese driver has said that he is content with the situation.

As he aims to stay on the grid for next year, the 24-year-old has confirmed that he is seeking a multi-year deal but is facing complications.

"That [a long-term F1 contract] is the target of course," Zhou told media including RacingNews365.com.

"It's not easy, because with, let's say, Audi arriving and all these things, they need to take a little bit more time.

"But for me, of course, I do like to have a longer contract in order to be a bit more relaxed, rather than have a one-year contract."

Zhou not in talks with other F1 teams

Theo Pourchaire, who is on the verge of winning the Formula 2 Championship, has been linked with a drive at the team amid his ties to the Sauber programme.

Should Zhou depart the Alfa Romeo team at the end of the season, it is unlikely that he would find a seat elsewhere.

As a result, he is making it his priority to remain with the team that is expected to return to the Sauber name next year.

"At the minute, this is the priority," Zhou said.

"There’s not a lot of seats available. I'm very keen on staying where I am."

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