Alonso ‘not up to speed’ after F1 test

Fernando Alonso

Fernando Alonso has admitted that he’s “not up to speed yet” after completing a filming day at the wheel of a Renault Formula 1 car.

In July, the Spaniard was announced as Daniel Ricciardo’s replacement at the team once the Australian heads to McLaren for 2021.

Following the weekend’s podium at the Eifel Grand Prix in Germany, Renault was on duty in Barcelona.

“It felt amazing to be able to drive these cars after two years and feel the speed again, how everything comes so fast, corner after corner, the performance under braking and all the things a Formula 1 car has to offer,” Alonso said.

“To feel it once again felt nice.”

Teams are allowed 100 km of running on a filming day, using Pirelli tyres specifically produced for the purpose.

The outing was Alonso’s first in an F1 car since he tested with McLaren at Bahrain in April last year.

Though not a fully blown test, it was enough to give the veteran an insight into how the cars have developed over the last 18 months.

“Most of the day was a little bit of filming with some drones on track and some action behind the camera,” he explained.

“At the same time, it was about working with the team to do a couple of laps and for me to find comfort in the seat, the steering wheel and the pedals.

“These are things for next year which, over winter, could be very tight. It’s our first steps.

“I think the car was a nice surprise,” he added.

“We know the car is performing well at the last couple of races and I felt the grip and certainly good potential in it.

“The last time I drove a Renault engine was in 2018 and I felt a step forwards, which is quite important there.

“Everything felt good. I wasn’t able to maximise the performance of the car because I’m not up to speed yet, but I’m happy with the day.”

Driving for Renault is something of a homecoming for Alonso, who made his F1 debut with Minardi in 2001.

He then sat out 2002 while working as a test driver for Renault, the squad which is now known as Renault.

It’s with that operation with whom he won his two world titles, in 2005 and 2006 before joining McLaren for 2007. He then had another stint with the team in 2008 and 2009.

“There is this atmosphere at Enstone, and in this team, that everything is so simple and logical in everything they do,” Alonso said.

“I’m comfortable here with Renault. A lot of the people who worked today, worked as mechanics in my days in the team.

“When you know the faces and the team, everything comes a little easier.”

Alonso will join Esteban Ocon at Renault for the 2021 season on a two-year deal.

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