On Tuesday, Alfa Romeo finally announced Zhou as Valtteri Bottas’ teammate for next year.

Zhou’s arrival ends Giovinazzi’s three-year stint with the team.

The signings of Bottas and Zhou give Alfa Romeo a fresh line-up for next year, having retained the same drivers in Giovinazzi and Kimi Raikkonen for the last three seasons.

Speaking at this weekend’s Qatar Grand Prix, Vasseur says signing Zhou rather than retaining Giovinazzi is good for Alfa Romeo’s “momentum” going into the 2022 regulation overhaul.

“I think we are at the beginning a new journey for the team, for F1, with the new regulations,” he explained. “If we have to change, I think it’s the right momentum. Zhou is doing very well in F2, he is P2 in the championship.

“There are still two races to go, he can be champion. I think it is the right choice.”

Vasseur dismissed any suggestions that having two new drivers would be a disadvantage for Alfa Romeo going into next year.

“I don’t think so,” he replied. “It’s not the continuity of the current car. For sure with the new regulations, a completely new package, new tyres, new aero regs, for sure you need to have someone with big experience.

“I think with Valtteri we have this one. I’m not it makes sense today to have the continuity in the line-up, but I think everybody will have their own assumption of this. It’s more a matter of opportunity than something else. But I’m convinced it was the right choice for us.”

Vasseur avoided confirming how long Zhou’s contract was but was keen to emphasise his qualities as a driver, given there has been criticism and questions over the signing given the Chinese driver’s heavy financial backing.

“The first criteria is the performance of the team,” he added. “You need to have good drivers, good technicians, good engineers, good feeling for the drivers and a good budget. It was a pillar of the decision for sure, it was always clear like this.

“We want to be at the cost cap, it’s the best way for us to be performing. But it’s not the only one Zhou is doing a good job in F2 and I think everybody is underestimating the level of performance and the job being done by Zhou this season.”