Monday, March 4, 2024

Alfa Romeo Confirm Unchanged Driver Lineup for 2024

Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake have confirmed their driver lineup for the 2024 FIA Formula 1 World Championship season with both Valtteri Bottas and Guanyu Zhou staying with the team.

Zhou – who was the first and only Chinese driver to race in Formula 1 – will continue with Alfa Romeo for a third season alongside experienced Bottas, who was already contracted with the team for next year, but it has now been officially confirmed.

Zhou signed for the team in 2022, and scored points on his debut at the Bahrain Grand Prix. The Chinese driver has enjoyed success this season, despite Alfa Romeo struggling for pace for much of the season, and is currently ahead of his teammate in the Drivers’ Championship. Bottas also signed for Alfa Romeo in 2022 – as the team replaced both Antonio Giovinazzi and Kimi Räikkönen – and has become a crucial part of the team with his experience playing a massive part in car development as well as choosing the right set-ups on Grand Prix weekends. The 10-time race winner had great success in the first half of 2022, but has remained an asset for Alfa Romeo both on and off the track.

Alessandro Alunni Bravi, Alfa Romeo Team Representative said, “The decision to continue our journey with our driver line-up unchanged is testament to the investment we have made in our project. Nothing in Formula One changes overnight, and we have taken a conscious decision to focus on stability and to keep building our team up together as we embark on an important period of transition.

“Valtteri and Zhou are drivers of known talent and skill and they work really well together: they are well-matched and can push each other. Valtteri has taken a real leader’s role within the team, pushing us all to give our best; Zhou has made impressive steps forward in the last two years and we expect him to continue on this trajectory in 2024. Now the baton is back to us – we have to give both drivers a good car and put them in the best conditions to perform.

“Finally, I am happy that Théo will remain with the team for 2024 as one of our reserve drivers: he has done an incredible job this year, not just in F2, where we will all support him as he fights for the title in Abu Dhabi, but also behind the scenes, working with the team in Hinwil.”

Bottas feels at home with the Hinwil-based outfit, and can’t wait to continue his journey into 2024. Having driven for Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team for multiple seasons and having experienced being Lewis Hamilton’s teammate, he feels that he and Zhou can be successful next season and beyond.

The Fin said, “I have a feeling we have an exciting journey ahead of us, so I am happy and grateful to be able to look forward to 2024 knowing how the team is shaping up. There is a good atmosphere within our squad, I get along with Zhou and we both push each other hard to improve. Every step forward we make is a step forward for this year and next, so we are motivated to give everything we have every time we’re trackside or at the factory.”

Credit: Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake

Zhou enters his third season in Formula 1, and he hopes he can continue improving like he has done for the past two seasons. On top of that, the Chinese driver is excited to race in his home race for the first time in 2024.

Zhou added, “Signing again with the team is always a great feeling, especially when we know how things are shaping up. I am proud to be part of Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake. My relationship with Bottas is really good, and we are working closely together and with the team to push everyone forward. I am also very excited about the opportunity to finally race with my team in China, in front of my home crowd. It will be a great moment and I’m proud to be able to share it with all those who have supported me.”

Alongside this news, it has been confirmed that Theo Pourchaire will also continue his role as reserve driver into 2024. The Frenchman was delighted with the announcement.

He said, “Over the years, the team has become a family to me and, therefore, I am really happy and grateful to continue my journey with Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake and the Sauber Academy.

“The support I have received from everyone in the team has been outstanding, and I’m proud to be able to contribute to the growth of the whole operation. I have a lot in me I can give to this special group of people and I’m looking forward to the future. Of course, a great way to say thank you would be to finish the job in F2 in Abu Dhabi – I’ll give everything to bring it home for the team.”