RACE DEBRIEF

    Having left Formula 1 in 2018, Fernando Alonso is taking every opportunity to get behind the wheel of an F1 car ahead of his 2021 return with Renault – with the team confirming that the Spaniard will run in a two-year-old car at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi on November 15-16.

    The Abu Dhabi test will mark Alonso’s third outing in a Renault since it was announced that he would re-join the team for 2021, with the two-time champion having run the 2018 car at Bahrain on November 4-5, while he also completed a filming day in the 2020 car at Barcelona on October 13.

    READ MORE: Renault ‘have all the ingredients for a good 2021’ says Alonso after testing R.S.20 at Barcelona

    “Fernando drove two days in the 2018 car in Bahrain, and he will do another two days on the 2018 car again in Abu Dhabi over the weekend,” confirmed Renault’s Executive Director Marcin Budkowski, speaking in Istanbul ahead of the Turkish Grand Prix.

    “He also did a filming day in the 2020 car, so he's taking every opportunity to drive. We had tests planned for our young drivers from our academy with the '18 [car], so we just added some days to get Fernando to drive. It was a good opportunity.”

    Fernando Alonso tests the R.S.20 at Barcelona on October 13 2020
    Alonso drove the 2020 Renault at Barcelona in October

    Meanwhile, speaking about Alonso’s enthusiasm to get behind the wheel ahead of his return to F1 with Renault – with the Spaniard set to begin his third stint at the team he won his two titles with in 2005 and 2006 – Budkowski said: “He wants more days in the car to get used to the team, to get used to the systems procedures, to fine-tune his seating position, the steering wheel, everything.

    "But also he hasn't driven a car for two years and they are bloody fast cars, and he needs to get back in shape, get back in the rhythm.

    READ MORE: Ocon explains how Alonso is already helping Renault’s bid for P3 in 2020

    “In terms of his enthusiasm, in terms of his determination, he's been at the factory obviously to do some seat fits,” Budkowski added. “I took him around the factory to show him everything that's changed since he was there in Enstone a number of years ago, and obviously a lot has changed since then, and his motivation is incredible.

    “He's really asking everybody, pushing and you spend a few minutes with him and you're straight away more motivated. So it's great for the staff to be exposed to someone like this, who's a great champion, but also is so motivated for the next year and the years to come.”

    Meanwhile, following on from Alonso’s Abu Dhabi test, Formula 2 racer Guanyu Zhou will take over the 2018 Renault R.S.18 on November 17 for his own day behind the wheel at Yas Marina.