Renault considering filming day runs for Alonso

Michelle Foster
Fernando Alonso

Fernando Alonso

Renault is still pushing to run Fernando Alonso in the young driver test but could also give him a day or two of filming as he prepares for his F1 comeback.

The double World Champion, who won the 2005 and 2006 titles with Renault, will be back in Formula 1 next season having signed with Enstone team for a third stint.

It is, however, almost two years since Alonso last drove a Formula 1 car.

The team is hoping the 39-year-old Spaniard will be allowed to take part in the post-season young driver test with managing director Cyril Abiteboul writing to the FIA to request permission.

However, Renault has other options as well to give the driver some track time.

“One thing that I can say is that he’s definitely keen on getting back behind the steering wheel, so we’ll see that,” Abiteboul told the media at the Sochi Autodrom. “We are building the programme.

“There is a couple of opportunities within, obviously, the restriction of the sporting regulation. Things like filming days that we’ve not done so far, there is a post-season test that I have already commented on – we’ll see where we get there.

“We also have a two-years old car programme that we can run pretty much anywhere and he will probably do a bit of that also. So, you’ll see him in action.

“I can’t say here where and when exactly yet.”

But while Alonso has yet to test a car, he has been spending time in the team’s simulator.

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The Spaniard visited the team’s factories earlier this week with Abiteboul asked about Alonso’s thoughts on the changes that the team has undergone since his last stint in 2009.

“Not sure I want to comment on the simulator specifically because it’s not necessarily the main strength of the team and we are working hard to improve in that area,” he said.

“That’s typically an area where there has been a lack of investment in the last few years – but on a broader perspective first we saw a Fernando that’s happy to be back not yet in action but back in the team environment, in particular a team that he knows and where he obviously has good souvenirs – but souvenirs are not a reflection of what’s going to happen so we need also to be forward looking.

“I think, being on the Viry side – because I can’t travel in the UK myself – I was not in the UK but I can tell you that he was really impressed by all the changes in Viry, all the new people, the energy, the drive, the determination in Viry that there is in developing a new PU for what is now 2022.

“It was supposed to be ’21 but it’s shifting back a year. Obviously I’m biased when I say that but it’s something that is extremely important to us, so see Fernando and to see his pride and the excitement in his eyes.

“He’s also been a witness to all the changes in Enstone – but a nice building is not again a statement of what’s coming.

“So, we just need to work very hard to make sure he has a car that he wants and also that he deserves.”

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