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Zhou relishing competitive F1 field: It's all about the details

The 2023 F1 season has been tough so far for Alfa Romeo; after ending 2022 in sixth place, the team now sit in P8 of the Constructors' Championship. Despite this, Zhou Guanyu has revealed in an exclusive interview with RacingNews365.com that he is enjoying the challenge of an increasingly competitive midfield.

Zhou Guanyu is relishing the increasingly competitive nature of the F1 midfield battle, despite Alfa Romeo slipping backwards in the pack. After ending the 2022 season in sixth place, the squad currently sit in P8 of the 2023 Constructors' Championship. During an eventful Australian Grand Prix, Zhou took advantage of the chaos to claim two points, his only points result of the campaign so far. Teammate Valtteri Bottas has four points to his name, highlighting Alfa Romeo's difficult start to the year. Despite this, Zhou feels that there are plenty of opportunities ahead for him and the team to score more points. "It is indeed not easy to pick up points this season because you are facing five strong front-running teams," Zhou explained in an exclusive interview with RacingNews365.com . "So as a result, you have to focus on the opportunities you get, like in Australia, where a lot happened during the race. "Every race weekend, teams bring updates, so you have to be very efficient yourself. You have to use the opportunities you get. So during such a hectic race like Australia, you have to make sure you stay out of trouble and still get your points."

Zhou more comfortable than during rookie season

Zhou made his debut in Formula 1 in 2022 and scored some encouraging results during the season, with his best result being an eighth-placed finish in Canada. While it might be assumed that the pressure could heighten on the Chinese driver for his second year in the sport, Zhou is actually feeling more comfortable in 2023. "Last year, the beginning of the season was very different for me, because I still had to adapt myself to many things," he explained. "The car, but also the whole of Formula 1, which again is a different racing series than the one I raced in before. That is also why I felt much more comfortable this year from the start than last season. "In 2022, we did not always have an easy time with the performance of the car, while this year the field is much closer together. As a result, we are constantly battling other teams during races." Zhou – who believes that the change of regulations in 2022 helped to bring the field even closer together – continued: "As a result, I feel this season is generally better than last year, but of course everything revolves around the results. "You can see especially in qualifying that everything is even closer together now. In fact, everyone understands the new generation of cars even better than last year and as a result you get an incredibly exciting battle. "Just look at how close everything is in Q1 and Q2 of qualifying. It's all about the details there."

Working with Bottas

Given the increasingly close battle in the midfield, it is helpful for a team to have two drivers who can get along. While Zhou is now into his second season in F1, his relationship with teammate Bottas seems to have remained the same. "Yes that's right, we still interact like last season," Zhou said. "We are good teammates with each other and throughout last year he definitely helped me get to where I am today. I am very grateful to him for that and it is good to see that we are both pushing to help the team now. "Together we are trying to bring the little details that will help the team move forward."

Zhou: Good for drivers to express themselves

Bottas appears to have become more and more 'himself' in recent times, having appeared in the paddock at the Australian Grand Prix sporting a mullet and tan lines. Zhou hopes that more drivers dare to express themselves in this way, commenting: "Yes, I think a few years ago he did not show this of himself so much. "I personally like how he presents himself now. It should indeed be the case that F1 drivers can express themselves, which is also good for the people who watch the sport." Zhou is sometimes seen wearing noticeable outfits in the F1 paddock, but the 23-year-old says that he has always been this way. "I mainly try to be myself and as you see me now, that's basically how I've always been," he added. "Maybe 10 years ago I wouldn't have chosen certain clothes, but now everyone can be who they want to be and so I feel good about it. "All the clothes I wear, I chose myself. It's not like I have a stylist choosing it for me. I want to feel good and wear what I like."

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