China won Australia’s last F1 spot in 2022

Formula 2 driver Oscar Piastri has been overtaken in favor of Chinese F2 driver Guanyu Zhou. Should we be angry?

During the night, news came of two major Formula 1 driver meetings.

The upcoming Chinese driver Guanyu Zhou has secured last place alongside the 2022 F1 network crashes Mercedes-AMG driver Valtteri Bottas at Alfa Romeo Orlen.

Meanwhile, Formula 2 championship leader, Australian Oscar Piastri, is designated as a backup controller Alpine F1.



When I heard the news, my first reaction was anger. To me, it seemed clear from the money talks when talent is left to dry up.

Both Piastri and Zhou are members of the Alpine Drivers Academy and compete in Formula 2, the F1 open bike feed series. Piastri leads the championship with 178 points in six of the eight races of the season. Zhou comes in second, 36 points back.

This difference is large, but not insurmountable for Zhou, given the F2 format, with two sprint races and one feature race every race weekend. In theory, 130 points are still in the distribution.

Piastri won the F3 championship in 2020 and has had a great debut season in F2 so far. He has won three races, including the last two feature races in Sochi and Monza, and has seven other top five races to date out of 17 races.

Zhou has been in the F2 series for a couple of years, finishing seventh in 2019 and sixth in 2020. He has three wins in 2021, but only five other top five rankings.

Zhou has finished outside the top 10 five times, including three retirements. Piastrilla has only one retired and one out of the top 10.



So when you look at both drivers on merit, it seemed to me that Piastri earned the last F1 spot that came on the market when Giovinazz’s departure from Alfa Romeo Orle’s F1 was announced last night.

I say “came on the market,” but that’s shit. Alfa Romeo Zhou had already signed and sealed before Brazil, so last night’s announcements were mere formalities.

Zhou will become China’s first Full-Time F1 driver, making him big news for China and F1 as he opens up the world’s largest economy even more to F1.

According to a report on Formula1.com, the arrival of Zhou is already showing an economic rise for both F1 and Alfa Romeo Orle’s F1.

“Zhou, like many F1 drivers, joins the stable with financial support. Insiders say Chinese companies’ interest in supporting Zhou has grown over the past 18 months as he has developed in F2 and risen to the F1 map thanks to his improved connections to Alpine.

“As a result, it is expected that Zhou’s entry into the F1 series will allow Alfa Romeo – and the wider sport – to rise commercially, as it will attract more Chinese sponsors to the championship in the coming years, and according to sources, there are already several inquiries.”



It’s no surprise to me that money wins talent in F1. But it still hurts, especially when it hits so close to home.

As my initial anger cooled, I began to wonder if Piastri was really better off waiting for Fernando Alonso to be released from the Alpine seat at the end of the 2022 season.

This year, Alpine-Renault has proven to be a better car and motorcycle package than the Alfa Romeo-Ferrari.

Alpine is fifth in the manufacturers ’championship series with 112 points and Alfa Romeo is ninth with 11 points.

Alpine is ranked in the top ten 24, including Esteban Ocon’s victory in Hungary, while Alonso is ranked in the top ten in each of the two competition bars. Alpha cars have been ranked in the top ten only five times, the eighth best in Russia and Mexico.

So while it’s annoying that Piastri won’t compete in the F1 series next year, his future in the world’s top motorsport category looks certain.



But still, it has to be a bittersweet pill for Piastr to swallow, as it’s likely he won’t compete in F2 next year. The rule of F2 is that the winner of the championship cannot compete again the following year. So he has to find other ways to keep his eyes inside and his racing ship sharp.

Glenn Butler

Glenn Butler is one of Australia’s best-known car suppliers, reporting on cars on radio, television, online and in print for the past 25 years. He is the former editor-in-chief of Wheels, Australia’s most respected car magazine, and was previously an assistant editor at Drive.com.au. Glenn’s also worked at the executive level at two of Australia’s leading automotive companies, so he understands how much care and judgment is needed in the design and development of new cars. As a journalist, he has driven everything from Ferrari to Fiat on all continents except Antarctica (which he hopes to achieve one day) and loves to discover the unique personality and strengths of each car. Glenn knows the price of a car doesn’t tell you its validity, and the cheapest car can improve your life and expand your horizons.

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