Vasseur: Zhou arrival in F1 a 'big bang to the system'

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Alfa Romeo team boss Fred Vasseur is anticipating that Formula 1's exposure in mainland China will "explode" thanks to the presence in his team of Chinese rookie Guanyu Zhou.

Zhou has joined Valtteri Bottas at Alfa Romeo for 2022 thanks in part to a lavish sponsorship package put together in his home country and worth a rumored $30 million.

As the first driver hailing from China to race in F1, and with the country seeking to host a second Grand Prix at some point in the future, Zhou's promotion has logically generated a lot of interest.

But Vasseur believes his driver's presence in Formula 1 will generate some big commercial opportunity for teams regarding China, with potential sponsors leveraging an involvement in F1 to help penetrate the country's massive markets.

"You know the first feeling is that okay, I will go on the Chinese market, but I think it's quite ambitious, quite difficult," Vasseur told the media.

"We had some contact the day after the announcement, mainly from European companies who want to go on the Chinese market.

"I'm not doing the job for F1 or for the other teams. I also think it will mean a huge opportunity for F1, for every single team, but the exposure will explode.

"It will be a big bang to the system. We have to take it as an opportunity for everybody. We are pushing like hell to improve in this area.

"But we have to avoid the misunderstanding the final target is always the performance."

Vasseur has not revealed the details or the duration of Zhou's contract with Alfa Romeo.

But the Frenchman acknowledged the importance of the Chinese driver's financial contribution, especially in helping the Hinwil squad close in on F1's budget cap that has been reduced by $5 million this year to $140 million.

"We are 200% focused on the performance of the team and we don't have to hide the fact that the budget is part of the performance and we are also targeting to get to the cost cap because it's an important step for us," he said.

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