F1 pundit Martin Brundle has drawn criticism after referring Zhou Guanyu as a “Chinaman” during Sky Sports’ broadcast of the Spanish Grand Prix.
Alfa Romeo driver Zhou engaged in a tight battle with AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda and Haas’ Nico Hulkenberg during the Spanish Grand Prix race on Sunday.
“The German, the Chinaman, the man from Japan and the man from Finland’s [Valtteri Bottas] not too far from them either. A very cosmopolitan race,” Brundle said commentating alongside David Croft.
On social media, some fans reacted negatively to the use of the disparaging expression, with one writing: “Martin Brundle has referred to Zhou Guanyu, a man from Shanghai, China, who drives a Formula 1 car as a Chinaman. Outrageous from the Englishman.”
Another said: “No Martin Brundle, you didn’t just call Zhou Guanyu “The Chinaman” while someone else added: “Martin Brundle accidentally calling Zhou a Chinaman and going silent 😭😭😭😭”
Sky Sports and Brundle have not responded to the situation at the moment. Given that Brundle is one of the most renowned F1 commentators in the world, it should be noted that the statement was highly unusual.
Before joining Sky in 2012, the former Formula racing driver started his career as a pundit in 1997, covering the sport for ITV and BBC.
The 63-year-old is widely renowned for his pre-race grid walks, and the Spanish Grand Prix was no exception. He asked Mason Mount about his future with Chelsea, photobombed football star Neymar, and earned high praise from iconic actors Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones.
Zhou, who joined the sport as China’s first full-time F1 driver last year, had a fantastic race, moving up from 13th to ninth and earning two really important points for himself and Alfa Romeo.
After seven races, the 24-year-old is currently ranked fifteenth overall and tied with teammate Bottas in points, while Alfa Romeo is currently eighth and tied with Haas in points.