Fernando Alonso, Alpine, Imola, 2021

Alonso impressed by Alpine’s Imola upgrade package

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In the round-up: Formula 1 returnee Fernando Alonso got his first taste of Imola since 2006 in his Alpine-Renault A521 and it left a big smile on his face.

In brief

Alonso enjoys Imola return

Fernando Alonso was excited for two very different reasons after he marked his first day in a racing car at Imola since 2006 by going 14th fastest time in Friday practice for the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix.

“It was a fun day for sure,” said Alonso. “I think the circuit is amazing, and the modern Formula 1 cars [make it] very narrow, very fast. When you have cars around, it’s quite tricky and quite quite narrow to let the people go, to overtake the guys on the out lap, on the in-lap. So all that adrenaline is building up during the lap. It was a fun day.”

The two practice sessions were also the first appearance of aerodynamic parts that were being trialled with the option of using them in the race.

“Happy with the progress, all the new parts, they seem to work. We need to make further analysis, but we are quite optimistic that they make a step forward in terms of performance. So let’s see what we can do tomorrow.”

He also gave his predictions of how Alpine will fare in qualifying.

“It’s going to be very close. We saw in Bahrain and I don’t think that it’s going to be very different here. Two or three tenths will make six or sevens position up and down. And hopefully we are one of those in the upper part.

Di Resta makes F1 reserve driver role return

McLaren returned to using Mercedes-Benz engines in F1 at the start of 2021, and recently announced their relationship with the automotive brand and F1 rival now extends to the sharing of reserve drivers taken from Mercedes’ Formula E line-up.

On the eve of the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix, McLaren then made the surprise admission that Mercedes’ former DTM driver and ex-F1 racer Paul di Resta is a driver it also has on call for if one of its usual drivers is unable to compete.

“My focus is on this agreement we have with Mercedes,” McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl said. “We have a good relationship also with Paul di Resta, who is also in possession of a superlicence, so we have an agreement with him as well in order to jump in if the requirement is there. So we are prepared for different scenarios.

In addition to winning the BRDC’s young driver award back in 2004 when it was backed by McLaren, di Resta also has links to the team having won sportscar titles with McLaren CEO Zak Brown’s United Autosports team.

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Comment of the day

Does Otmar Szafnauer’s criticism of F1’s new rules show he knows the season is lost?

With the major design challenge of the 2022 car, Szafnauer already knows he can’t put enough resource into this season’s car to tackle the challenge. He knows he’s only going to stay where he is or drop further backwards in the midfield pecking order (got to assume at least McLaren and Ferrari will keep developing a little longer into the season, AlphaTauri is already ahead, and Alfa are also in the mix) for the rest of this season and is laying out his excuses early.

Papa Stroll has spent big on the team and the marketing, and he’s got a dog on his hands this year that he can’t fix.

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4 comments on “Alonso impressed by Alpine’s Imola upgrade package”

  1. But Di Resta’s super license isn’t valid anymore as he hasn’t driven in a single F1 race within the last three years.

    Aston Martin should solely focus on returning to a more competitive level next year.

    The 2016 Chinese GP also took place on this day, and thus, the Torpedo nickname started.

    1. @jerejj Figured you must be wrong since he indeed has been touted as having a Super Licence by Seidl, and has indeed been brought on board, so I googled it. It doesn’t just hinge on driving in F1 within the last 3 seasons but even if it did it seems 2020 has been exceptional so they currently will look at the last 4 seasons. And there is discretion there for the FIA to issue/allow maintenance of, a SL. But as well, PdR has raced in DTM up until 2019, and WEC up until 2020 and is currently still on a WEC team.

      1. @robbie Or he has done 300 km of running in an F1 car earlier this year to get it valid again.

  2. Re Formula Regional: At least this weekend has any feeder series action before FIA F3 starts, so does Portugal with Euroformula Open!

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