F1 | Piastri defends newly announced Alfa Romeo and fellow Alpine academy driver Guanyu Zhou
Formula 2 championship leader Oscar Piastri has come to the defence of fellow Alpine junior Guanyu Zhou following criticism of his announcement as an Alfa Romeo Formula 1 driver for 2022
Formula 2 championship leader Piastri, who has long been linked to a possible move to Formula 1 next season with Alfa Romeo, missed out following the announcement that Guanyu Zhou had claimed the final available race seat alongside Valtteri Bottas.
Zhou, the first Chinese driver to make it to F1, is known to bring significant financial backing, a fact which outgoing Alfa Romeo driver Antonio Giovanazzi hit out at in a social media post, calling F1 “ruthless” as “money rules”.
When asked for his opinion on Zhou’s move by motorsport.com, Oscar Piastri was quick to come to the defence of his rival, calling the criticism which has been levelled against Zhou “pretty unfair” as he expects a good job from the Chinese driver.
Enjoying my time at #QatarGP 😄 https://t.co/PGFmgJxRHi— Oscar Piastri (@OscarPiastri) November 19, 2021
"Obviously he's copped quite a bit of negativity on social media and stuff, and I think most of it is pretty unfair, to be honest," he said.
"OK, we all know he's bringing some financial backing behind him, but he's not doing poorly.
"He's second in the championship, he's got the same amount of wins as me, he led the championship for the first part of the year. He's certainly not coming in with no results at all.
"I think it'll be tough for him against Valtteri. I think Valtteri will be a very strong teammate.
"But I'm excited to see how he goes and I think he'll do a pretty good job."
2022 @alfaromeoracing F1 Driver!— 周冠宇 | Guanyu Zhou 🇨🇳 (@gyzhou_33) November 16, 2021
A kid’s dream come true...
First Chinese 🇨🇳 F1 driver.
Lots of emotions going through my mind right now, I’m just so grateful for this opportunity, Thanks to everyone who believed me supported me on this journey. #F1 #TeamZHOU pic.twitter.com/WBbkcqotGZ
Piastri currently leads Zhou by 36 points in the F2 standings with only two events remaining, Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi. Piastri who won the Formula Renault Eurocup championship in 2019 and the FIA Formula 3 championship in 2020 is favourite to take the title, thus preventing him from competing in 2022.
Instead the Aussie will step into the role of Reserve driver for Alpine next year, taking a year out from competition. Zhou meanwhile is not expected to continue his relationship with Alpine, potentially opening the door for Piastri should a race seat open up at the team.
"I think that is another way of looking at it, definitely," Piastri said.
"I think in a big team like Alpine that's obviously a manufacturer as well, I'd like to hope that the financial side wasn't so much a big factor.
"So going forward, I don't know how much of a role that would have played.
"But I guess it's nice in some ways to have Zhou I guess out of the picture a little bit."