Zhou Guanyu took a light-hearted dig at Fernando Alonso before the race weekend in Austria, referencing the two-time World Champion’s age when discussing retirement plans.
The Alfa Romeo driver was asked about his experience at Paris Fashion Week in between the Canadian and Austrian Grands Prix, where he was spotted taking in the events of one of the blue riband events on the fashion calendar.
Former Alpine junior driver Zhou, who had been previously linked with a race seat prior to Alonso rejoining the team after his F1 sabbatical, couldn’t resist a subtle reference to the 41-year-old’s age when it came to how fashion may form his post-racing career.
Zhou Guanyu references Fernando Alonso in his retirement plans
In discussing his time in France’s capital, the Chinese driver said how much of a passion he has for the world of fashion.
“I went there for a sponsor of mine, which is Dior,” Zhou explained at the pre-Austrian Grand Prix press conference.
“I think Pierre [Gasly] was there as well, the day before that, so yeah, had an enjoyable time over there, and seeing a few friends as well, and yeah, now back obviously to racing and hopefully can climb to where we left off three weeks ago – because Canada for me was kind of one to forget, and try to learn from that.”
When he was asked further about how much of an interest fashion is for him away from the circuit, Zhou, sat alongside Alonso during the press conference, joked: “That’s in the plan of maybe when I’m retiring – or Fernando’s age maybe! Right now the main focus is obviously racing – but besides that I obviously have a high interest.
“My family, my mother, used to be one of the designers back in the day, so maybe I get that from her. So yeah, I always had a high interest, but obviously Formula 1 is a bigger platform for me to be a bit more myself, and that spills out into the fashions.
“So yeah, I’m happy to obviously design some cool stuff. To wear your own clothes, I think that’s definitely the coolest thing that can happen.”
Alonso has spoken on multiple occasions about how references to his age do not bother him, with Lewis Hamilton having joked about his slow reaction off the start line being “an age thing” in Canada, which saw the Mercedes driver leap past him into Turn 1 before Alonso overtook him again later in the race.
The Aston Martin driver has six podiums in eight races so far this season, and sits third in the Drivers’ Championship only behind the Red Bull duo of Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez.