Alonso ready to be ‘surprised’ in Renault test

Michelle Foster

Fernando Alonso is back in the cockpit of a Formula 1 car, putting in the laps at Circuit de Catalunya in preparation for his F1 return.

The Spaniard, who walked away from Formula 1 after the 2018 season, is returning to the grid with Renault, having signed with the Enstone team for a third stint.

His preparations for his comeback are well underway with the double World Champion having spent time at the team’s factory and in the simulator.

However, it wasn’t until Tuesday morning that he put in his first laps in F1 car since testing with McLaren last year, some 500-plus days since his Bahrain outing.

“Returning behind the wheel is going to be an amazing feeling,” Alonso said ahead of Tuesday’s outing. “After two years not driving in Formula 1, I’m really looking forward to it.

“It’s going to be like a new beginning, getting surprised about the speed of the car, the braking performance, the corner speed and a lot of things which will surprise me once again.”

The test comes 20 years after his first F1 test with Benetton, which became Renault.

“It’s very special to be back in Barcelona,” he continued. “I remember my first test with Benetton in the year 2000, it was in Barcelona.

“It’s going to be at the same circuit 20 years after that first test and it’s going to be one of the last opportunities with a car named after the Renault brand because next year it’s going to change. I feel really privileged, I’m looking forward to it, very excited.”

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The 39-year-old climbed into the RS20 on Tuesday morning to begin his day’s programme.

“Preparing for this 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.

“It’s only 100km, it’s a filming day, so we will try to maximise those laps, try to get some images and some filming.

“I know I will learn and discover a lot of things during those laps. I will take it with a very open approach, try to learn as much as possible in every kilometre.”

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