Formula 2 title leader Guanyu Zhou will make his Formula 1 practice debut for Alpine at this weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix.
Zhou, 22, joined Alpine’s young driver academy in 2019 upon graduating to the Formula 2 championship.
Zhou leads this year’s standings after the opening three rounds, having taken two victories, in Bahrain and Monaco respectively.
He has previously taken part in private test days with Alpine, running in old-spec machinery, and represented the team – under its Renault guise – at last year’s young driver test.
Zhou is set to be the first Chinese driver to appear at a grand prix weekend since Ma Qinghua’s outings with HRT and Caterham in the early 2010s.
Zhou will replace Fernando Alonso behind the wheel of the Alpine A521 for Friday’s one-hour session at the Red Bull Ring.
“Driving in FP1 at a Formula 1 Grand Prix weekend is like a dream coming true and another step closer to my ultimate goal of becoming a Formula 1 driver,” said Zhou.
“It’s going to be a very special moment. I’m preparing myself as much as I can to be ready and also ensure that I’m able to complete all the targets and plans that the team have set me to do.
“There have not been many Chinese drivers in Formula 1, so to be behind the wheel of an F1 car during a race weekend is going to be a very proud feeling.
“It’s going to be even more special that I’m driving Fernando’s car as he inspired me to pursue a career in racing when I was young.
“I’m very happy with my achievements so far and I’m very thankful for the support I have from those around me. My aim is to maximise this opportunity and I’m really looking forward to it.”
Zhou is set to be one of three test drivers in action on Friday, with Callum Ilott due to replace Antonio Giovinazzi at Alfa Romeo, and Roy Nissany scheduled to run in place of George Russell at Williams.