'Money rules': F1 driver's staggering claim after 'ruthless' dumping

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Pictured right, Antonio Giovinazzi has been replaced at Alfa Romeo's F1 team by China's Guanyu Zhou.
Antonio Giovinazzi (right) has been replaced at Alfa Romeo by Chinese driver Guanyu Zhou. Pic: Getty

Antonio Giovinazzi has taken a swipe at the "ruthless" nature of Formula One after suggesting money was behind his Alfa Romeo axing.

The Italian was dumped from Alpha Romeo and replaced by 22-year-old Guanyu Zhou, who becomes China's first ever driver in F1.

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Alfa Romeo described their new signing as "a trailblazer who will write a pivotal page of his country’s motorsport history".

F1 chief executive Stefano Domenicali said the arrival of the first driver from China was "fantastic".

"The news Guanyu Zhou will be in F1 next season is fantastic for the sport and the millions of passionate Chinese fans that now have a home hero to cheer all year long," he tweeted.

The country of 1.4 billion, which hosted its first grand prix in Zhou's home city of Shanghai in 2004, represents a huge market for the F1 and constructors like Alfa Romeo.

That fact was not lost on Giovinazzi, who reacted to his axing by Alfa Romeo by taking a parting shot at the Swiss-based team.

“@f1 is emotion, talent, cars, risk, speed. But when money rules it can be ruthless,” he wrote on Instagram.

“I believe in the surprise of an unexpected result, of big or small victories achieved thanks to one’s commitment.

“If this was my first picture in F1, the last still has to be taken.”

In three seasons with the Swiss-based team Giovinazzi's best finish is fifth place in the 2019 Brazil Grand Prix.

He has one point to his name this year with three races to come.

Raikkonen is on 10 points to leave the Swiss-based team ninth in the constructors' championship, ahead of Haas who have not scored a single point.

Guanyu Zhou realises F1 dream

Zhou has already had a taste in motorsport's fast lane as a test driver for the F1 Alpine team in 2020/21 and took part in his first free practice session at this year's Austrian Grand Prix.

However, the Chinese driver says to be given a seat at an F1 team for 2022 is a dream come true.

"I dreamt from a young age of climbing as high as I can in a sport that I am passionate about and now the dream has come true," Alfa Romeo quoted Zhou, who was educated in Britain, as saying.

"It is a privilege for me to start my Formula 1 racing career with an iconic team, a team that has introduced so much young talent into Formula 1 in the past. Now the dream is reality."

Pictured here, China's Guanyu Zhou celebrates after winning an F2 race at Silverstone in 2021.
China's Guanyu Zhou celebrates after winning the Formula 2 Championship race at Silverstone in July, 2021. Pic: Getty

Zhou has enjoyed a breakthrough year in F2, and is lying second and challenging for the title with races in Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi to come.

His journey to F1 began in 2012 when he arrived in England to compete on the karting circuit.

In 2019 He was named best rookie in F2, coming in seventh. Last year he finished sixth after claiming his debut win.

This term he has 36 points to make up on title leader Oscar Piastri as the season reaches its conclusion.

Alfa Romeo team principal Frederic Vasseur said he believed Zhou would establish "a very successful partnership" with his new teammate, Bottas.

"I know both of them well and I’m totally convinced the combination will work well."

As well as the arrival of "a very talented driver" Vasseur welcomed "all the new Chinese fans who will join the team".

Vasseur told F1.com that Zhou "has everything to be successful in Formula One" and while it had been a tough call to ditch Italian driver Giovinazzi the timing was right with new regulations coming in next season.

"Saying goodbye to a driver is never easy, especially so in the case of Antonio, who has been part of the team for so long," said Vasseur.

with agencies

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