Renault Formula 1 team principal Cyril Abiteboul has likened Fernando Alonso’s hunger for success at the team like “a big shark” seeing blood and wanting to attack.
Alonso is ending a two-year sabbatical from F1 to return to the sport with Renault next season as replacement for the McLaren-bound Daniel Ricciardo.
The Renault squad is buoyed after claiming its first podium in nine years at the Eifel Grand Prix, and Abiteboul revealed the two-time world champion had sent multiple messages to the team over the weekend in Germany.
“The situation is obviously very positive,” Abiteboul said.
“We receive a message before, during, after the race. You would be impressed to measure his level of interest.
“I think that when he initially joined the team and when we announced him, his communication was very much about 2022. The more the season is going and with the team’s progression, the car progression, the more he starts to be interested in 2021.
“Fernando is like a big shark. As soon as he starts to feel the blood, he wants to attack. That’s what I see. I see a shark, very hungry – so that will be good to see.”
Alonso drove the team’s 2020 car on Tuesday in a filming day at the Circuit de Catalyuna in Barcelona as he stepped up preparations for his comeback with his first F1 car test in over a year.
The Spaniard said he has been keeping an eye on Renault’s progress ever since his return was announced back in July.
“Of course I watch all the races from home,” he added. “I have a computer from Renault, I can follow Esteban’s onboard, camera, Daniel, camera, onboard as well. I can follow the radio communications, the debrief, the strategy meetings.
“I know what is happening every weekend, the results are getting better and the better, the podium was a very deserved podium finally.”