Zhou Guanyu and Yuki Tsunoda are not thinking too far ahead at the moment regarding their F1 future beyond the 2022 season.
For Guanyu, the first Chinese driver on the grid, his season at Alfa Romeo got off to a dream start with tenth place and a points finish. On the back of this followed two eleventh places and since then there have been four uninspiring drives for him and these include two retirements amid mechanical issues.
With a third of the season over, there has been the odd rumour about 2023 and will he be at the wheel of the car as French youngster Theo Pourchaire, the team Test Driver could be lined up to drive. Still only 18, he is scheduled to partake in free practice sessions as part of the young drivers’ test.
For Guanyu, he is out of contract when 2022 finishes so there is no time like the present for thinking ahead to the grid line up for next season. “Yeah, so basically, it’s still the beginning of this season,” he said. “So I have no plans yet towards the future or what’s the plan yet. But I quite enjoy my moments so far in Formula 1.
“Of course, it’s been quite up and down, because due to the last few races reasons. But overall, I feel very happy and very nice to be here. And I feel like there’s still plenty of races for me to develop my ability in Formula 1 yet. So I’m not really too worried about the future yet.
“And I think right now I’ll just try to try to focus on getting myself up to speed and bring the team double points finishes. And then if everything plays out as planned I see no reason what’s the future going to be but I feel quite confident that we can still do the job this season and I’m not too worried about what’s coming up in next year’s plan yet,” summed up Guanyu.
The young Chinese made a great start to the season and even though it has been indifferent since, he still has 15 races to improve his fortunes in the championship and put himself in the shop window if needs be for 2023. Alfa Romeo are one of the most improved teams this season, particularly on the back of the signing of the experienced Valtteri Bottas.
Meanwhile, Tsunoda, now in his second season at AlphaTauri has outscored his team lead Pierre Gasly so far in 2022. For the team, its been a tough season so far and as it stands the young Japanese is not firm yet, while the Frenchman is tied to Red Bull until 2023. Like Guanyu, the Japanese driver is not thinking far ahead too.
“I don’t know,” said Tsunoda. “Well, I’m just focusing right now to the car, developing the car as much as possible for the team. And we have a clear target for the team championship. So just aiming for those things and other than that I don’t know.”
For Tsunoda and Guanyu, they can only do their best. With Sergio Perez signing for an extra two seasons at Red Bull, that narrows options for many others. The best for both drivers, and the rest of the field is just to knuckle down and get on with racing.
Here’s Pierre Gasly on AlphaTauri’s form
Here’s Valtteri Bottas on life at Alfa Romeo