Fernando Alonso drives the R.S. 20 at Barcelona for a filming day with the team

Renault’s performance a “nice surprise” in return test – Alonso

2020 F1 season

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Fernando Alonso has completed a filming day in the 2020 Renault car, in preparation for his Formula 1 return with the team next season. The two-times world champion for Renault said it “felt nice” to be able to drive an F1 car again, after two years in retirement.

Filming days are limited to 100 kilometres of running, which Alonso completed over 21 laps around Barcelona, the track he first tested an F1 car at in 2000. Alonso said it ‘felt amazing’ to drive an F1 car again, having last driven during the 2019 in-season test day in Bahrain, for McLaren.

“It felt amazing to be able to drive these cars after two years and feel the speed again, how everything comes so fast, corner after corner, the performance under braking and all the things a Formula 1 car has to offer.” He said, “To feel it once again felt nice.”

Alonso said that the Renault’s performance was ‘a nice surprise,’ I think the car was a nice surprise. We know the car is performing well at the last couple of races and I felt the grip and certainly good potential in it.”

However, he said he himself was not up to speed yet to extract the car’s maximum performance, showing the importance of today’s track time to his F1 return. “The last time I drove a Renault engine was in [2019] and I felt a step forwards, which is quite important there. Everything felt good.”

“I wasn’t able to maximise the performance of the car because I’m not up to speed yet,” he added, “but I’m happy with the day.”

Alonso said he the day’s programme had been primarily filming and about finding a comfortable position for him in the car. “Most of the day was a little bit of filming with some drones on track and some action behind the camera.

“At the same time, it was about working with the team to do a couple of laps and for me to find comfort in the seat, the steering wheel and the pedals.” He said, “These are things for next year which, over winter, could be very tight. It’s our first steps.”

Renault scored its first podium for nine years at the Nurburgring last weekend. However Alonso said this hasn’t changed his perspective on the team’s potential.

“I’m still the same after Sunday. I know what the team is capable of and I know the prospects for the future are good.

“The podium is a thing that had to happen,” he added. “[The] most important thing is to follow the trend that we see now, keep the momentum into next year, especially for 2022, and I think we know how to do it.”

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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2020 F1 season

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Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a motorsport and automotive journalist with a particular interest in hybrid systems, electrification, batteries and new fuel technologies....

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26 comments on “Renault’s performance a “nice surprise” in return test – Alonso”

  1. I give it half a dozen races until he starts asking why it is so slow!

    I am looking forwards to next seasons radio chat already :)

    1. @nullapax I don’t expect a repeat of FA at McHonda and I’m quite sure he is not expecting to be fighting for wins and the Championship next year, but that he has high hopes for himself and the team for the new gen reset in 2022. Given that it should be a more driver vs driver formula with cars not held back in dirty air, I think FA will have ample opportunity to impress. Next year though? Should still be a tight mid-field fight with Merc and RBR well ahead of the rest. FA knows that for next year, so I predict we’ll only hear of the good work they are doing progressing the pu with 2022 in mind.

      1. I think that Alonso did not even expect to be much into contention for podiums when he signed up for the job, but with the recent pickup in speed and some results, it would have positively surprised him and helped boost his competative spirits to go for a few podiums next year @robbie, @nullapax

        But I wholly agree that he would rather have expected next year to be a year of settling into the team, getting back up to speed with how everything works and be part of a push forward for 2022 and later. Maybe if Renault disappoint during 2022-2023 he will start to get restless and unsatisfied. But who knows how things will work out.

    2. @nullapax
      LOL. Alonso’s rants are a certainty.
      Sure as the sunrise.

      1. @liko41 No not a certainty whatsoever. It took an awful lot of disappointment and frustration for FA to get to the point he did with McHonda. This is now a completely different scenario. And he already knows where Renault is in terms of competitiveness and knows there’s work to do. But there’s also no agonizing wait and continuous disappointment at being completely sub-par. They’re already much better at Renault than when he left Mac. He’s mainly more stoked for 2022 than next year anyway.

        1. @robbie
          His famous “GP2 engine” rant was in Japan 2015, less than a full season out of the three he was contracted with McLaren.
          He embarked in a adventure he knew would have been a long term one, because he screwed up the atmosphere at Ferrari and nobody wanted him around anymore.
          He was paid 30 million bucks. By Honda, because Ron Dennis already knew him.
          And he threw S— at his employer, in its home race.
          He never lost a chance to use harsh words towards his team.
          He lost the fight with Button.
          I mean, do we really need any more proof that Alonso is poisonous?
          I don’t think so.
          Even if Alonso was as quick as Hamilton (which he is not), hiring him wouldn’t worth the trouble.
          Good luck to Renault.

          1. https://www.google.ca/amp/s/www.motorsport.com/f1/news/alonso-gp2-engine-honda-2015/4678330/amp/

            @liko41 As FA points out that comment was meant to be between he and his engineer and was not meant for public consumption. He’s allowed to be frustrated over his radio with his engineer. Otherwise publicly he is quite diplomatic. And I’m sure because of his experience proving that ‘private’ radio chatter can be aired to the world at F1’s whim, he’ll be more diplomatic on the radio too, not that he’ll have the same frustration with Renault where they’re at now compared to where Honda was in 2015.

            You may think he isn’t worth it from your armchair, but his WEC stuff, his Indy500 stuff, and now his re-entry to F1 obviously puts you with few legs to stand on with your argument.

          2. @robbie
            I don’t give a damn what FA said.
            That rant was broadcasted on live TV, as his “siete proprio dei scemi” at Monza a couple of years earlier, just after his team sacrificed once again his teammate to make up for his own qualifying deficiencies.
            Facts are there to prove Alonso is a primadonna with a very BAD attitude towards his team, no matter what. He hasn’t changed a bit in his first 40 years, he won’t change a bit in the future. Renault will soon pay a hefty price for that.

            As for value as a driver… well, how a couple of WEC wins in a dominant Toyota, with preferential treatment would prove anything about it?
            Indy 500? LOL! I think it’s better for you alonsistas to avoid that one!

      2. People learn from their mistakes, some of the time at least. And I believe Fernando is a lot more diplomatic is his declarations lately. Which somehow is a loss for us but works much better for him

        1. @melanos
          Fernando NEVER learned anything from his own mistakes.
          He didn’t even learn to say sorry and he is a grown up man almost in his 40s.
          He is toxic and will never change.

    3. Yes @robbie I was saying to my better half that I am looking for to more ‘he cut the chicken’ radio comments…

  2. No gawd, no!

    One session and he’s already spouting nonsense. How could he gauge the performance of the car on filming-day tires? In October?

    1. How could he gauge the performance of the car on filming-day tires? In October?

      I guess that’s why he is driving the car and not @faulty.

      Also, it’s hardly his first filming day or running in Barcelona with ambient temperatures around 20C.

    2. @faulty isn’t there likely a certain amount of flattery going on, given that both sides are going to want to get their working relationship off to a good start?

      1. “The team have done a super job to get the engine to such and such”

        Would be different to

        “I can feel it, gurl! Yeah baby, it feels soooo goooood!”

        Tigershark Samurai ready to hype things up and then disappoint, again.

        1. There’s something @faulty with this poster’s attitude.

          1. All I’m saying is that instead of resorting to For sure or Obviously, Alonso’s go-to strategy in the offseason is to hype up his car development abilities by “sensing” that he can squeeze more performance out of the engine/chassis/package.

            In 2017 “the chassis felt good”, in 2016 the upcoming cars gave him the expectation of “feeling wow again”, in 2015 he “felt privileged to develop the updates McLaren” was expected to bring during the season, and so on and so forth… ad nauseum.

  3. So, excellent.

    But then again, why is similar luxury not an option for young drivers?

    They should dedicate one session per weekend for test, new, old drivers. Especially new. Maybe mandate it drivers who could but have not done an F1 race in two years.

    1. Not that I don’t think that there needs to be a greater opportunity for younger drivers to test F1 cars before they get stuck in a race seat, but when would the teams have time?

    2. it is, its called the young driver test. alonso is no longer young so he cannot take part in that test.

      also young drivers often get practice outings which alonso has been denied. so this was the only way around that

  4. i dont even care anymore if he wins another championship or not. i just wanna see him drive, he has a certain technique and line that others dont use as often as he does. the race is nearly always fun to watch with alonso driving. hes fun to watch. i miss that. although lately norris/sainz and ricciardo have been fun too

    1. Agreed. Well said.

  5. I’m just anxious to see if Alonso does to Ocon what he did to Vandoomed.

    1. I would think that is likely.

      1. @robbie is it any difference to the criticism Ocon has had this season for his performance relative to Ricciardo?

    2. I’m keen to see how much Alonso beats Ocon by and that could give us a rough performance differential between Ricciardo and Alonso given the cars aren’t heaps different.

      Ocon should improve though, so it’s all with a large grain of salt.

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