Guanyu Zhou finished as best rookie in the 2019 FIA Formula 2 Championship after a superb debut season where he claimed five podium places. He signed with the Academy in January alongside his role as Development Driver for Renault F1 Team.
Zhou, racing for UNI-Virtuosi, made a solid start to the season in Bahrain finishing tenth in race one before battling his way to fourth in race two. After a difficult outing in Baku, Zhou took his first podium in Formula 2 in Spain with a third place and followed that up with another third place after a strong effort on the streets of Monaco.
His form continued through France with a third podium of the season before he stormed to his maiden Formula 2 pole position in Silverstone after a stellar one-chance lap. He finished third in Britain and continued to pick up points before and after the summer break. Zhou had to wait until the final round in Abu Dhabi for his next visit to the rostrum where he took another third place to secure seventh in the championship and ‘Top Rookie’.
Guanyu Zhou: “It’s been a pleasure driving in Formula 2 wearing Renault colours this year. We started the season well, much better than expected, and we were fighting for victories and podiums. I was the only rookie to be doing that consistently with three podiums coming in Feature Races. It was nice to be up there in the championship all the way through and competing for the top five. Ending the year with a podium finish was a good way to close out the championship. I learned a lot from experienced drivers, especially my team-mate who has made me a better driver for the future. I’m now looking forward to the challenge ahead over the next few years. I’d like to say a big thanks to the team and to Renault F1 Team for helping me massively this year.”
Zhou on Formula 1: “On the Formula 1 side, it’s been an unbelievable season. With the opportunities I’ve had, a few dreams have come true. I was honoured to do the Formula 1 demo in the city of Shanghai, I never expected that to happen, and also driving an F1 car on the circuit before the 1,000th Grand Prix was special as well. At the home of the team at Goodwood, I climbed up the hill for another Formula 1 demo, becoming the first Chinese driver to do so. It’s been an emotional year and hopefully there’s more of that to come in the future.”
Favourite Moment: “The Silverstone pole position. That was something special! We didn’t expect to be up at the front straight away. My engineer asked me if I wanted to do one lap or two laps and I said: ‘let’s go for one’. We nailed the lap and I was happy to score my first Formula 2 pole position.”