RACE DEBRIEF

    Fernando Alonso is set to make his F1 comeback with Renault in 2021. And the two-time world champion believes that the team – who will be rechristened as Alpine next season – will getting one of the sport’s most complete drivers when he joins them for next year.

    Alonso – who it was announced in July would rejoin the Renault team he won his two Formula 1 titles with – was speaking in a press conference in support of his new Amazon Prime documentary series Fernando, when he was asked whether he agreed with the statement that he was one of F1’s most complete drivers.

    “I must agree,” replied Alonso. “I consider myself to be quite complete – maybe I score nine in everything. Maybe there’s a faster driver in wet conditions or on Saturday or on the starting line, one that’s better than me… But I think I’m close to the top in many circumstances and categories, and in the championship that’s a good thing to have. It’s like when you have any top athlete doing good in every single category, in the end you win.”

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    Since leaving F1 at the end of 2018, Alonso – who visited Renault’s Enstone and Viry factories last week for a seat fitting and simulator session – has competed in various categories, series and races, including the Dakar Rally, World Endurance Championship and last month’s Indy 500. And the Spaniard believes that his adaptability is what marks him out as a driver.

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    “Throughout my career, when the engines were V10 or V8, we were there all the time, with Michelin, Pirelli, we were still there in the top positions,” he said. “The wet conditions were always good for me, and now when I’ve gone to other categories, to go to the Dakar Rally and be amongst the top five was a good surprise for me. To jump in a car and… be able to lead in the Indy 500 was a surprise to me.

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    Alonso won the 2019 Le Mans 24 Hours with Toyota

    “So you discover yourself as a driver who can adapt to any car, circumstance or category, and you start to harness that for your own benefit. You’re aware of your limitations – you try to hide them to not give any openings to your rivals or opponents. But your qualities, you try to emphasise them. And that’s what I intend to do – I try to emphasise them better than others.”

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    One hole in Alonso’s CV is that he’s yet to complete his stated aim of motorsport’s triple crown of winning the F1 world championship, Le Mans 24 Hours and Indy 500 – a feat only achieved by Graham Hill – with Renault Team Principal Cyril Abiteboul confirming recently that Alonso wouldn’t be permitted to compete in the Indy 500 (the only part of the triple crown he’s missing) when he joins the team, as he was with McLaren in 2017 when Alonso was replaced for the Monaco Grand Prix by Jenson Button.