Alfa Romeo revealed on Tuesday morning that it would part ways with Giovinazzi after three full seasons, with Formula 2 title contender Zhou taking his place in a separate announcement made shortly afterwards.
Giovinazzi was critical of his ousting on Twitter following the news, saying F1 “can be ruthless when money rules” in reference to Zhou's backing and the potential of increased exposure for the sport in a rapidly growing Chinese economy.
However, just a few hours following the announcement about his departure from F1 after the 2021 season, Giovinazzi has secured a switch to FE with Jay Penske's squad.
The Italian driver will partner Sergio Sette Camara, who completed an extension to his Dragon Penske deal on Monday night after impressing during his first year in Formula E last season.
“As soon as it was made public that I would not be in F1 next year, I have decided to participate in the Formula E world championship,” said Giovinazzi. “It is a category which I have always followed. I am thrilled to be part of DRAGON / PENSKE AUTOSPORT in this all electric racing series which I already tested three years ago.
“I would like to thank Jay Penske who immediately showed great interest having me onboard. I can't wait until I will test my new electric single-seater in Valencia at the end of the month. We have an exciting year ahead of us, I will do the maximum to help the team succeed.”
Giovinazzi will take over the seat that was originally occupied by factory Audi driver Nico Muller in 2021 before the latter left mid-season to concentrate on the DTM, opening up a vacancy for ex-BMW racer Joel Eriksson, who previously served as Dragon Penske's reserve driver.
“Antonio is one of the most talented drivers in the world, and I am very proud to have him joining this team,” said team boss Penske. “With Antonio and Sergio, we are fortunate to now have what I believe to be one of the strongest race line ups in the series.”
Dragon Penske finished 11th out of 12 teams in the 2021 season after a belated introduction of its new powertrain, which it will continue to use in 2022 as part of FE's new two-year homologation cycle.
Muller secured the outfit's best result of the campaign with a second place finish in the farcical Valencia race, but both he and Sette Camara finished inside the top five on merit in the second race in Diriyah earlier in the year.
Giovinazzi may get his first test of Dragon Penske's Gen2 Formula E car as early as the Valencia pre-season test at the end of this month.