Alonso making F1 testing return with Renault today

2020 F1 season

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Fernando Alonso will continue preparations for his return to Formula 1 racing next year by testing a Renault at the Circuit de Catalunya today.

The two-times world champion, who won both his titles with Renault in the mid-noughties, will drive the team’s current RS20 chassis in a filming day. Under F1’s regulations he will be limited to no more than 100 kilometres of running in the car – a maximum of 21 laps at the home of the Spanish Grand Prix.

Renault has made strides with its 2020 car in recent races. On Sunday Daniel Ricciardo, who Alonso will replace at the team next year, scored the team’s first podium finish since its return to F1 as a full constructor four years ago.

Alonso’s run was rumoured during the Eifel Grand Prix weekend, though as recently as Sunday Renault would not confirm it was going ahead. It is the first time he has driven an F1 car since he tested for McLaren in April 2019. He last drove a Renault F1 car when he left to join Ferrari at the end of 2009.

“Returning behind the wheel is going to be an amazing feeling,” said Alonso before his run. The team will be rebranded as Alpine ahead of his race return next year.

“It’s very special to be back in Barcelona. I remember my first test with Benetton was in the year 2000. It’s going to be the same circuit, 20 years after that first test. It’s going to be one of the last opportunities with a car named in the Renault brand because next year it’s going to change.”

“Preparing for the test was not easy,” he added. “With the Covid restrictions it was not the normal preparations. Not many days in the simulator. But nevertheless I think we are ready.”

This article will be updated.

Is Renault’s F1 return finally starting to deliver? Don’t miss Dieter Rencken’s analysis in Wednesday’s new RacingLines column on RaceFans

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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16 comments on “Alonso making F1 testing return with Renault today”

  1. I’m really looking forward to having Fernando back. Just hoping he’s still got it. Intensity was always his big weapon wasn’t it, so hopefully that’s fundamental and still there.

  2. Welcome back Fernando

  3. Fernando Alonso is back!

  4. Who’s taking bets on how much Alpine will regret this? I’ll throw my money down on 3 years max before the relationship sours.

    1. @skipgamer I’m in. 3 years will be fine. There’s no Ron Dennis, Ferrari politics or sub-par engine. It’s his old team, the car is good and he is motivated.

      1. Sounds good, we eating hats or shoes?

        No Dennis, but an Abiteboul
        No Ferrari politics, but an embattled Renault that’s borrowing money from the French government
        and… Wait… No sub-par engine? What Formula are you watching?

        1. Reno is for sure in finance more stable then McLaren, and engine was better than Ferrari’s. Which season are you watch now , 2016?

          1. Until Ferrari had to remove the sensor cheat, there was nothing wrong with that engine. Until this year the Renault had the bad habit of blowing up in smoke. And it seems some of those problems are back, just ask Norris.

  5. Can Renault put Ocon aside and let Alonso drive the rest of the season?

    Contract clauses from both parties permitting, of course.

    That may be the easiest path to third place WCC.

    1. Contracts issues for this year notwithstanding I doubt they’d want to sideline a driver they have contracted for next year. That isn’t going to do anything for his morale, confidence or preparation. Also, as good as Alonso is it would be a tall order to be on the pace immediately after 2 years out.

      Think they’re better to let things play out and have Alonso continue his preparation for next year. Ocon hasn’t been able to top Ricciardo, but given he’s one of the best on the grid I don’t believe Ocon has been as underwhelming as most seem to think. He’s usually only 1-3 places behind Ricciardo which is what you’d expect from your ‘second’ driver.

      1. petebaldwin (@)
        13th October 2020, 16:51

        Yeah I agree. Other than Hungary, in the races where they’ve both finished, Ocon has never been more than 2 positions behind Ricciardo. I think he’s done a decent job against one of the best on the grid considering he wasn’t racing last year.

        1. By some Ocon wad hyped as being in the class of a Verstappen or leclerc.
          Often referring to his f3 period.

  6. Its interesting that they are testing this year’s car only two days after the last race. They obviously have another chassis fully built up and ready to go, as strip down and prep (not to say driving from Germany to Spain) in under 48hrs would be impossible.
    I wonder how many engineers who were at the Nurburgring will be involved too. This feels like days gone by when you had a race team and a test team.

  7. Funny enough it happens the race after they get a podium

  8. Does anyone else have a problem that their comments won’t show up?

    1. @qeki If you are able to see this comment, then no.

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