Fernando Alonso has stepped back into a Formula One car for the first time since April 2019 as he drove Renault’s R.S.20 car at Circuit de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain in a Renault filming day.
Ahead of his full-time return to the grid next season with Renault which will be rebranded as Alpine after this season, Alonso managed to complete 21 laps and 100km in line with FIA regulations for usage of the current season’s car for filming days.
Speaking on getting to grips with a car which Daniel Ricciardo had guided to the podium in Sunday’s Eifel Grand Prix, Alonso was happy, saying; “I think the car was a nice surprise. We know the car is performing well at the last couple of races and I felt the grip and certainly good potential in it.”
Reflecting on his last F1 outing in a Renault powered car in 2018, Alonso was delighted with the progress of the power unit, saying; “The last time I drove a Renault engine was in 2018 and I felt a step forwards, which is quite important there.”
Alonso’s programme involved filming with drones on track and action behind the camera whilst unfortunately failing to “maximise the performance of the car” as he tried “to find comfort in the seat, the steering wheel and the pedals.”
This test comes after visits to both factories in Enstone, UK, and Viry, France, with Alonso praising the ease of his visits in preparing for his F1 return, as the Spaniard noted that he “felt at home already…” with familiar faces still at the constructor with Alonso admitting that “When you know the faces and the team, everything comes a little easier.”
Barcelona however is a familiar circuit for Alonso after having won twice here in 2006 and 2013 respectively on top making his F1 debut at the same track with Benetton, with the Spaniard speaking fondly of the track, saying; “it’s a special track and I have lots of good memories here.”