China sets foot in Formula 1 and Europe begins to not be ‘world number one’

Sauber’s signing of Guanyu Zhou marks the first time in history that a Chinese have entered Formula 1 as a rookie driver. Anticipate an unstoppable trend.

About two decades ago, Bernie Ecclestone He uttered a phrase that sparked a lot of controversy: “Believe me, In a few years Europe will be a third worldLook what is happening in China. Our continent will soon become a beautiful place for tourism, but technological and economic leadership will come from Asia.” The phrase was uttered in an interview as the English magnate defended himself from criticism for taking more and more jobs from his natural lands in Europe, and taking them to the Asian continent.

Obviously, when the English magnate spoke in the “Third World”, he was referring to the paranormal that Europe is losing in relation to America, but especially in relation to Asia. From this point of view, Ecclestone’s words could not be more accurate because, in fact, we see today how Europe has lost its former leadership and is resisting the economic and industrial power coming from the East with great difficulty.

In the beginning there were the racetracks, now drivers and teams (at least their possessions) are starting to arrive, whether you like it or not, and many of them will be Asian sooner rather than later. Formula 1, after all, is a thermometer that measures the health of different economies, countries or industrial sectors like any other sport. Take, for example, the typical case of Italy, which in the mid-1980s regularly had about a dozen drivers in Formula 1, boasted a network of patrons across the Alps, however, in 2022 it could not maintain Antonio GiovinazziYour sole representative in the specialty.

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Leclerc (left) and Giovinazzi (right) are Ferrari’s scholarship drivers for Sauber. Italy will have no representatives in 2022.

Italy, no pilots in 2022

Such is the harsh reality of progressive European pettiness. If the country that is home to Ferrari from Tazio Nuvolari, from the world of karting, etc. Couldn’t resist pushing China, it’s the clearest sign that Bernie Ecclestone’s so-so-blistered prophecy had a lot of reality in its background. even if Pirelli, the legendary Italian manufacturer and the current official supplier of Formula 1 tires, has a majority share of Chinese origin!

Since then in 2004 The first Formula 1 race will be held in ChinaIt was only a matter of time before the domestic motorsports hobby gradually developed and, as a result, the development of talents of sufficient class to obtain the famous super driver’s license. because Guanyu Zhou (Shanghai, 1999), don’t get to Formula Reina just because of the economic potential it brings. The Chinese rider is a very competent rider who has proven with victories and poles that he deserves his seat on the Sauber team.

It’s sad and even a little insulting to have a file The current champion of Formula 2, Oscar Piastre, Don’t jump to the highest category and someone with worse sporting results does, but this is not new in the history of motorsport, in a sport where the money traditionally contributed by the driver (or his ability to attract) has always been a factor of great importance. Therefore, there is nothing to object to the existence of Zhou, because if justice is discussed, the distribution of nationalities in Formula 1 on the basis of pure talent, the story will have nothing to do with the person we know.

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Young Guanyu Zhou attended the first Chinese Grand Prix to pay tribute to his idol Fernando Alonso

Sauber’s Big Chance

For Sauber, signing Zhou was a golden opportunity to free himself from the tutelage he had for years from Ferrari or the FIAT group. When the late former president Sergio Marchionne He audited his Formula 1 team and saw that every year there was a frequent “Bella” on the part of the Swiss team, he decided to rename the team as alfa romeo, Since then it has become a little less than a Ferrari SatelliteEmploying pilots and technicians in the training process. The manager was clear that if, for various reasons, there was a certain obligation to supply engines Sauber was unable to pay the bill, it should at least be collected “in kind”.

The Swiss team today is a healthy company and is ready for that leap that makes it the owner of its own destiny. To achieve this they need a stable long-term flow of funds. Obviously, no one could open such a vein better than the Chinese pilot. Fernando Alonso, who was Guanyu Zhou’s childhood idol, knows that interest in Formula 1 will rise in his country. But at the same time he also highlights his qualities as a pilot, and it was not for nothing that he was a member of the Alpine Academy of Talents. Remember that Zhou participated in the Spanish driver’s car for a free practice session, and he already made an excellent impression.

Alex Albon returns to Williams despite not showing anything special. He’s a good pilot, but the power of Asia today is all the way up.

Three Asians in 2022

In addition to coming with a good athletic and technical background, Zhou will not have cultural or language adaptation problems, as he struggles with Japanese Yuki Tsunoda. The new Sauber driver has lived in the UK for more than half his life, moving with his family in order to advance as a driver in the Formula 1 hub. Along with Alex Albon, he will be the third Asian rider In the tournament next season. A clear sign that this trend of talent from the East has come to stay, and that it will continue to grow.

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Indeed, Alex Albon’s case perfectly exemplifies where the decision-making power sways at a global level, because if we were talking about any other European talent instead of the Thai driver, Albon would have hardly returned to Formula 1. After the chances at Toro Rosso and at a leading team Like RedBull, if nothing exceptional is done, the shark pond crusher will say, “Let the next happen.” Sad and cruel but it has always been that way.

Therefore, we can appreciate the importance of having a grand prix and drivers from our country taking part in the discipline because although it hurts to get to know it, Spain is also part of that European “third world” that Bernie Ecclestone proclaimed at the time.

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