Abu Dhabi Racing’s Chinese driver Guanyu Zhou won the Formula 3 Asian Championships
Abu Dhabi Racing’s Chinese driver Guanyu Zhou won the Formula 3 Asian Championships Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Abu Dhabi Racing’s Chinese young gun Guanyu Zhou proved his credentials with a smooth triumph in the Formula 3 Asian Championships that concluded in the UAE.

The 21-year-old, who was a former member of the Ferrari Driver Academy between 2015 and 2018, ended the championships held alternately in Dubai and Abu Dhabi over five weekends, with a total of 257 points.

With each of the five rounds consisting of three races, Guanyu took the title by 16 points over Frenchman Pierre-Louis Chovet of the Pinnacle Motorsport team, while Jehan Daruvala of Mumbai Falcons India Racing took third place with 192 points to complete the FIA-sanctioned championships with sponsorship from Singapore-headquartered, Giti Tire.

So complete was the domination from Zhou that the Chinese driver missed out on the podium on only four occasions across the 15 races.

Retained as part of the renamed Alpine Academy, Zhou has made it clear that his goal is to make it to Formula One, and with him open up the market of his home nation the sport.

“The main target for this year is to get my super licence, get me ready for when there’s a seat available in F1 so I can take that chance,” Zhou said after the race. “That’s my dream, so I wouldn’t say exactly the time when it will happen. But I would say definitely I’m the closest ever to get into Formula 1 as a Chinese driver. The country is supporting me to achieve my dream and the Chinese motorsport fans’ dream as well.”

As part of the Renault Sport Academy, he currently serves as the test driver for Renaul’s F1 team and was the development driver for Formula E team DS Techeetah.

Zhou started his single-seater career in 2015, competing in the Italian F4 Championship and ADAC Formula 4 with Prema Racing. After finding success in Italy, he moved up to the European Formula 3 Championship with Motopark in 2016 and Prema Racing in 2017 and 2018.

In a championship that had a strong representation from Formula 1 juniors in the 2021 F3 Asian Championship, it was French driver Chovet also impressing as he gamely battled for the top spot on the podium, while India’s Daruvala — a member of the Red Bull programme — came up with worthy performances along the way.

Williams development driver Roy Nissany took a pair of podium finishes on his way to fifth place overall, while Ferrari’s 17-year-old prospect Dino Beganovic — who will be familiar to some through his involvement in the Formula 1 Virtual Series — featured on the podium four times in his nine races in the F3 Asian Championship.

Japanese driver Ayumu Iwasa, a new addition to the Red Bull fold, picked up a best result of P3 while also claiming the Rookie Cup.

The 2021 F3 Asian Championship was a multi-event, Formula 3 open-wheel single seater motor racing championship. The championship featured a mix of professional and amateur drivers, competing in Formula 3 cars that conform to the FIA Formula 3 regulations for the championship.

F3 Asian Championship standings

1. Guanyu Zhou (China/Abu Dhabi Racing) 257 pts
2. Pierre-Louis Chovet (France/Pinnacle Motorsport) 241
3. Jehan Daruvala (India/Mumbai Falcons India Racing) 192
4. Patrik Pasma (Finland/3Y Evans GP) 146
5. Roy Nissany (Israel/Hitech Grand Prix) 99
6. Isack Hadjar (France/3Y Evans GP) 95
7. Dino Beganovic (Sweden/Abu Dhabi Racing) 88
8. Ayumu Iwasa (Japan/Hitech Grand Prix) 82
9. Cem Bolukbasi (Turkey/BlackArts Racing) 61
10. Roman Stanek (Czech Republic/Hitech Grand Prix) 60