Alonso embedded in Renault’s race operation for Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix · RaceFans

by Oct 30, 20200 comments


Fernando Alonso is embedded within Renault’s race operation at the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix to familiarise himself with their procedures ahead of his return next year.

The team’s sporting director Alan Permane said Alonso’s presence is to learn more about what the team do, rather to offer feedback on areas for improvement.

“He’s here as a real first look at how we go racing, honestly,” said Permane. “Not to critique it, but to settle himself in for next year so he gets a jump on what we do next year.

“He’s been listening in over race weekends for the past three or four race weekends, I think. He’s got a laptop, he can use the F1 pit wall software so he’s following the cars and he’s listening into our meetings and our session debriefs and our pre-briefs and strategy meetings and stuff like that.

“This is just the next step. So he’s not here to really take any active part in the weekend, he’s here to listen and get himself up to speed.”

Alonso will drive a two-year-old Renault in a test session at the Bahrain International Circuit next week. Permane said the schedule for the test will “be largely driven by him and what he wants to do.”

“What we normally do with our with our young driver running, we would give them a day in our two-year-old car, we try and sort of condense a whole race weekend into a day,” Permane explained.

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“So we do some running on medium fuel in the start of the day to get them into the car, into the circuit and play about around a bit with set-up. And then we give them a couple of sets the soft tyres around lunchtime and do some qualifying. Then in the afternoon we fill the car with fuel and do some long runs on those used tyres. So we try and keep that the same between each driver so that we have some sort of comparison at the end of an event.

“It will be what Fernando wants to do, these days of him. But I suspect that sort of running is all useful stuff, feeling the car on 30 or 40 kilos of fuel and then taking the fuel right out and then high-fuel it, that’s all relevant stuff. So I doubt it’ll be much different to that.”

Permane was with Renault when Alonso previously drove for the team, including when he won his two world championships in 2005 and 2006. He observed Alonso’s recently filming day run for the team at the Circuit de Catalunya and sees little change in his motivation to succeed.

“I was engineering Giancarlo Fisichella in those two years when we won the championship so Fernando was a little bit the enemy at that time,” recalled Permane. “And of course we couldn’t beat him, we couldn’t really get anywhere near him.

“Of course, he’s like all of us, another 14, 15 years older, so I’m sure he’s matured. But I still see that drive there.

“I was down in Barcelona a couple of weeks ago when he did that filming day and already he’s questioning every detail and you can see he’s thinking about the future. And although we were running on Pirelli’s demonstration tyres, which are quite a long way from the race tyres, he’s questioning every aspect of the car from the steering wheel layout to the rear ride height and things like that.

“So I’m sure that side of it, the drive and the ambition, hasn’t gone at all.”

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