Renault has announced Fernando Alonso will continue preparations for his comeback by taking part in Formula 1’s young driver test two days after the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
As revealed yesterday, permission for Alonso to join the test was granted by the FIA after lobbying by Renault for the Spaniard to be allowed to participate.
Previously he has only had a 100kms filming day run in the current car, along with extensive mileage in a 2018 machine.
The test was originally defined in the 2020 FIA sporting regulations as being reserved for drivers who had completed in no more than two Grands Prix, ensuring that it was for rookie drivers.
However it has now in effect been opened up to drivers who did not race this year, with Sebastien Buemi expected to drive for Red Bull, and Robert Kubica for Alfa Romeo.
The decision has frustrated rival teams who believe that Renault will gain a sporting advantage by running Alonso, and giving him a chance to make a contribution to developing the car for 2021.
Teams are allowed to run two cars, and the second Renault will be handled by Guanyu Zhou.
Renault team principal Cyril Abiteboul indicated that the team’s consistent support for young drivers, including the Abu Dhabi outing for Zhou, helped to sway the FIA.
“We would like to thank the FIA and F1 for their acceptance of our test plans,” said Abiteboul.
“Made in recognition of our commitment to young drivers throughout junior motorsport and to Fernando’s own dedication to furthering the careers of young talents.
“Zhou has experienced the benefit of the Renault Sport Academy, having joined its ranks last year.
“He has worked hard and made a genuine contribution to the performance of the team through his work in the simulator and test programme. I am delighted he can drive the R.S.20 to complement his journey so far.
“For Fernando this will be the next step in his return. He has worked tirelessly to make sure he is as ready as he possibly can be for 2021.
“He wants to contribute fully – not just to the team, but to the fans and the sport he has missed in the past two years.”
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