Zhou Guanyu: Alfa Romeo F1 star explains 'culture shock' of move from Shanghai to Sheffield
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The Alfa Romeo driver was born and raised in Shanghai, China, but moved to Sheffield as a boy to accelerate his racing education and studied at Westbourne School from 2011 to 2014. Zhou starred on the karting circuit for the Handsworth-based team Strawberry Racing and the 24-year-old still considers South Yorkshire his second home.
Speaking to the Mirror ahead of the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, he called the move from Shanghai to Sheffield a ‘culture shock’, adding: “I went from a massive city to somewhere with more countryside, more mountains, nature.”
Zhou described Sheffield as the perfect place for him to focus on racing while also enjoying the snooker for which the city is famous. He added: “It was a great time there and I had great friends there. It also helped me to quickly learn my English – I was there during my GCSE period and there weren't many Chinese people there, other than in university. I had to improve my language and that really helped me.”
He was back in Sheffield earlier this year, when he visited his old school, and commented that ‘half of the city has turned into a small Chinatown’, adding that he was ‘so impressed with some of the restaurants that you don't even get in London’.
Zhou was described earlier this year by his former headteacher at Westbourne School, John Hicks, as a ‘hard-working, conscientious and nice guy’. Zhou has also spoken of his love for chips and gravy, which he developed during his time in Sheffield.