Fernando Alonso says a full day of testing of Renault’s 2020 contender sparked his “competitive spirit” ahead of his return to the fray in 2021.
Alonso, who recently accumulated mileage at the wheel of Renault’s 2018 car as he ramped up his preparations for next season, set the fastest lap in Tuesday’s post-season test at Abu Dhabi.
Interestingly, a qualifying simulation by the Spaniard produced a 1m36.333 lap that was marginally quicker than the best time achieved by Renault last Saturday in qualifying at Yas Marina.
“It was good and very nice to be back in the car especially with the race team,” commented Alonso.
“I’ve been testing the 2018 car in preparation but this one felt a bit more serious and it ignited a little bit the competitive spirit. It was great to feel the modern cars and experience what they can do.
“I was watching the team’s progress at the weekend closely and it was nice to experience what I learnt from the outside and then inside the cockpit today.
“We signed off lots of basic things we did in preparation at the factory like seat fitting, pedal position and so on, which is beneficial with only one and a half days of winter testing next year.
“We ticked boxes today and we go into Christmas and New Year with good spirit and everyone motivated in the team.”
Read also: Renault’s Alonso tops Abu Dhabi post-season test
On the other side of the Renault garage, F2 racer and junior driver Guanyu Zhou ended his day P9 but reckoned he had enjoyed a “decent” day behind the wheel.
“It was a pretty decent day,” said the Chinese charger. “I got used to the car straight away, we did a lot of laps including race runs and performance runs, which were very interesting.
“Our pace was reasonably stable, so I was happy with that, especially this morning’s performance run.
“There were a couple of technical things here and there, but it is testing, we still did a lot of laps, and that is the main purpose.
“I wasn’t really looking for lap time and during the last two sessions, together with the team, we found a good balance on the car in comparison to the evening sessions at the weekend, so that’s positive learning for the team.
“Overall, I’m really happy with my first time driving the 2020 car, so thanks to Renault for the opportunity.”
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