F1 news: Fernando Alonso’s comeback test “a new beginning”

Fernando Alonso says his return Formula 1 test outing with Renault in Barcelona represents a “new beginning” as he reboots his grand prix racing career with his third stint at the Enstone team.

Alonso will be able to complete 100km in the 2020-spec Renault car in what is officially classed as a filming or promotional day.

The Spaniard pointed out that the test comes 20 years after his first proper Formula 1 outing at the same venue, and with the same team, as he drove a Benetton-Playlife B200 for two days in Barcelona in December 2000 alongside regular driver Giancarlo Fisichella (pictured top).

However, it was not his first F1 mileage, as he had a brief run at Jerez with Minardi exactly a year earlier in December 1999.

Alonso’s most recent F1 experience came when he drove a Renault-powered McLaren in Bahrain for two days in April 2019.

“It’s going to be an amazing feeling, after two years not driving an F1,” he said.  “I’m really looking forward. I think it’s going to be like a new beginning, getting surprised about the speed of the car, the braking performance, the cornering speed, a lot of things that will surprise me once again, and I’m looking forward.

“It is very special to be back in Barcelona. I remember my first test with Benetton in the year 2000 was in Barcelona, and it’s going to be in the same circuit 20 years after that first test, it’s going to be one of the last opportunities with the car name on the Renault brand, because next year it’s going to change. I feel very privileged and I’m looking forward and very excited.”

Although he has spent time at the Enstone factory, Alonso admits that he hasn’t done as much work as he would have wanted to.

“Preparing for this test was not easy,” he said. “With the COVID situation it was not the normal preparations, not many days in the simulator, but nevertheless we are ready.

“It’s only 100kms, it’s a filming day, so we try to maximise those laps and try to get some images and some filming. I know that I will learn and will discover a lot of things during those laps. I will take it with a very open approach and try to learn as much in every kilometre.”

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