F1 rich kid Zhou Guanyu landed a spot on the Alfa Romeo roster, at the expense of British F1 prodigy Callum Ilott, thanks to his monster net worth.
The 23-year-old, from Shanghai, brought with him a not inconsiderable financial package said to be worth millions of pounds when he joined Alfa Romeo – important funding for a team towards the back of the grid. And after impressing during his first season in the paddock, it has been confirmed the Chinese driver will now take their second seat.
Alfa Romeo team principal Frederic Vasseur said: "From day one with the team Zhou has impressed me with his approach to work. We knew he was quick, but the way he adapted to Formula One in such a short time has been one of the best surprises of our season."
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Vasseur had previously noted money had been a key factor in signing Zhou, who is believed to come from an extremely rich family with links to a car business. Vasseur said: "In the end, our sponsors also want to be happy and develop their commitment to the future, and the financial side can't be hidden.
"The first Chinese driver in F1 – it's mega news for us, for the company, for our sponsors and also for F1 in general. A team has to become sustainable at one stage. It is not just about the Chinese sponsors, it is about the exposure we will give to our current partners.
"F1 today is a bit tough. If you are not in the top two plus Ferrari, the exposure is very low and this is probably the best way we will have to move up the classification of exposure."
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As well as opening up alfa Romeo to a new lucrative market, it is rumoured Zhou comes from an extremely wealthy family – having moved to the UK as a 12-year-old to chase his racing dream.
Various sources have Zhou's net worth between $1million-$5milllion, but it could be much higher thanks to his family. Not much is known about Zhou's family, but it's rumoured that they own a car business, which helped fund his F1 dream.
Zhou's best result this season so far came in Canada – where he finished eighth.
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