The Hinwil squad started out as the Sauber team in F1 in 1993, transitioning from a successful sports car team during the 1970s and 80s. A respectable and consistent team from the outset, Sauber finished 5th in their very first F1 race in South Africa and finished 7th overall in the Constructor’s Championship at their first attempt. The 1995 season saw Sauber join forces with Red Bull as a main sponsor, and the beginning of Red Bull’s long and successful involvement in Formula One. 1997 saw Sauber forge a close bond with Ferrari, running their engines for nine seasons. One of their best-ever seasons came in 2001, notably giving the relatively unknown Finn Kimi Raikkonen his F1 debut and finishing 4th in the Constructors Championship with two podium finishes for Nick Heidfeld. The following year saw Sauber give Ferrari-backed Felipe Massa his F1 debut before Ferrari and Sauber’s partnership ended in 2005. The 2006 season saw Sauber join forces with BMW, the latter supplying engines and substantial funding to the team renaming themselves as BMW Sauber. 2006 and 2007 saw more debuts for famous F1 names – Robert Kubica replacing Jacques Villeneuve in 2006 and Sebastian Vettel stepping in for the injured Kubica in 2007 – scoring points on his debut. Kubica in particular put in many giant-killing performances for the BMW Sauber team, scoring plenty of podiums and the team’s first and thus far sole victory in the 2008 Canadian Grand Prix. Kubica was in title contention for the majority of 2008, however car development waned as did his title bid. BMW pulled out of F1 at the end of 2009, the team returning as Sauber with Ferrari engines. Following a quiet season in 2010 rebuilding, 2011 saw the team give Sergio Perez his F1 debut, the pairing with Kamui Kobayashi proving to be a consistent point-scoring duo. Perez was painfully close to a famous victory in Malaysia 2012, chasing down Fernando Alonso right to the end before settling for 2nd. Three more podiums followed in a highly successful 2012 season. Performances never reached the highs of 2012 in the following years, culminating in a 2014 season with zero points. Sauber continued in the lower rungs of the midfield for the next few years, finishing the occasional race in the points, with Indy 500 winner Marcus Ericsson behind the wheel. 2018 saw Sauber and Alfa Romeo form a partnership, keeping Ferrari engines and providing a race seat for promising rookie Charles Leclerc. More competitive displays came throughout this season, earning Leclerc a promotion to Ferrari, swapping seats with Kimi Raikkonen. Renamed Alfa Romeo racing in 2019, Raikkonen drove for the team he began his career with until the end of 2021 prior to his retirement, with a 4th place finish at the 2019 Brazilian Grand Prix being Alfa Romeo’s best result in these seasons with Antonio Giovinazzi following Raikkonen home in 5th. 2022 saw more change on the driver front for the team, with Mercedes race winner Valtteri Bottas joining Alfa Romeo alongside Chinese rookie Zhou Guanyu and the team opting to keep the same lineup for the 2023 season. From 2026 onwards, the team will be competing in F1 as Audi, with Alfa Romeo’s partnership coming to an end at the end of 2023.
DOB: 28th August 1989
Lives in: Monaco/Finland
Current team: Alfa Romeo F1 Team Orlen
Bottas’ racing career began in his teens, winning karting championships and Formula Renault before the age of 20. Bottas moved up to the GP3 Series (now F3) in 2011 alongside a role as a test driver with Williams F1, winning the title at the first attempt. Sitting out 2012, Bottas jumped past GP2 and raced with Williams in 2013, adding to the already strong pedigree of Finns in Formula One. In the first year of the turbo hybrid era, Williams with Mercedes engines were highly competitive, allowing Bottas to finish on the podium six times on his way to 4th in the driver’s championship. Bottas’ consistency and pace continued into 2015-16 before his big break came at the end of 2016. Due to the sudden retirement of Nico Rosberg after winning the 2016 Championship, dominating front-runners Mercedes were on the lookout for a driver to partner Lewis Hamilton. Bottas was chosen as the man for the job, racing alongside Hamilton from 2017-21, winning eight races and helping the Mercedes team to five consecutive Constructor’s Championships in this time. Bottas’ best season in this period came in 2019, winning four races and finishing second in the Driver’s Championship to Lewis Hamilton with 326pts. Bottas moved to the Alfa Romeo team for the 2022 season on a multi-year deal, helping the team to a much-improved 6th in the Constructor’s Championship while finishing 10th in the Driver’s standings himself. Outside of Formula One, Bottas is an active cyclist, partnering with girlfriend and professional cyclist Tiffany Cromwell in global cycling events. As well as this, Bottas launched Oath Gin in 2022, holding a tasting event at the beginning of 2023 in South Australia.
DOB: 30th May 1999
Lives in: London, England
Current team: Alfa Romeo F1 Team Orlen
Following his junior karting career in native China, Zhou’s move to the UK saw the beginning of his climb up the motorsport ladder. Zhou showed his talent in his early forays into single seaters, winning at Monza in Italian Formula 4 – while being part of Ferrari’s Junior Academy. Following his departure from the Ferrari family, Zhou joined the Renault Academy for 2019, becoming a development driver for the F1 team. This also coincided with Zhou moving into F2 for the 2019 season after spending three seasons in F3. Zhou’s 2020 and 21 seasons – also spent in F2 – saw him spend time as Renault/Alpine’s test driver and participate in Free Practice in Austria 2021. After finishing third in the F2 championship for 2021, 2022 saw Zhou promoted to Formula One with the Alfa Romeo team to become the first Chinese driver to compete in the sport – scoring points on his debut with a 10th place in Bahrain. A peak of 8th was to follow in the Canadian Grand Prix, Zhou earning his place alongside Bottas for the 2023 season.