Zhou Guanyu has revealed that he knew of Lewis Hamilton’s shock move to Ferrari prior to the official announcement.
Hamilton announced last week that he will depart Mercedes at the end of the upcoming campaign and join Ferrari on a multi-year contract.
Among the changes that Hamilton has made, the seven-time World Champion has brought Marc Hynes back to his inner circle this year, having previously worked with him from 2016 to 2021.
Hynes also works closely with Zhou, and the latter reached out to his manager to ask about the rumours when they appeared many hours before Ferrari announced Hamilton as a 2025 driver.
“I didn't check that much [the reaction to Hamilton’s news in China] but people probably didn’t believe it, or 90 per cent of the people [didn’t believe it] when rumours came out,” Zhou exclusively told RacingNews365.
“I know Marc, which is his [Hamilton’s] kind of management together with me.
“I text him before it, so I knew he was signing, it was a fact. I didn't tell anyone, but I was really shocked by the news.
“But I think the people back there [at Mercedes], it’s going to be even more shocking. I think as a driver, especially Lewis, I think he is seeing himself to retire as a Ferrari driver.
“It’s obviously very nice to have. I don't blame him for having this kind of feeling.”
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Zhou surprised by timing of decision
Hamilton signed a two-year extension last year with Mercedes that was due to take him to the end of the 2025 season.
However, Mercedes has since confirmed that the second season had an option that Hamilton activated in order to join the Italian squad.
“It’s very unexpected, most likely [I was] not expecting Lewis to retire as a Ferrari driver.
“People love to be retiring as a Ferrari driver, especially the World Champions but he announced it at the beginning of this season, which is still another season to go with his team, which is certainly a shock.
“But exciting I guess for people like us just to understand so many things are changing in other teams.”