Sauber will enter 2024 with an unchanged driver line-up in Formula 1 after retaining Zhou Guanyu alongside Valtteri Bottas.
Zhou stepped up to Formula 1 for 2022 at the team currently known as Alfa Romeo alongside Mercedes refugee Bottas.
Zhou has scored four points this season, peaking with a pair of ninth places in Australia and Spain respectively, amid Alfa Romeo’s lack of performance from its C43.
There had been speculation that Sauber was exploring its options, with reserve Théo Pourchaire and last year’s F2 champion Felipe Drugovich also in contention, but on Thursday Zhou’s seat was secured for 2024.
The news means that China will have a representative on the grid for next year’s returning grand prix.
“Signing again with the team is always a great feeling, especially when we know how things are shaping up,” Zhou said.
“I am proud to be part of Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake and grateful for their trust: I have been working extremely hard since day one and there is an incredible level of motivation to keep doing so every day forward.
“My relationship with Valtteri 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.”
Bottas added: “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.
“There is an impressive amount of work going on behind the scenes, in Hinwil and beyond, and now that the line-up is set for next year, we can focus fully on improving, starting this weekend in Singapore already.
“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.”
Pourchaire, meanwhile, will remain associated with the Sauber Group in the role of reserve driver for another campaign.
“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,” Pourchaire expressed.
“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.”
Alfa Romeo Team Representative Alessandro Alunni Bravi says the decision to retain its current driver line-up 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,” he continued.
“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.”
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