Fernando Alonso confirmed for Renault at Abu Dhabi ‘young driver test’

Renault have confirmed Fernando Alonso has been given the green light to make his official F1 return in the post-season Abu Dhabi ‘young drivers test’ later this month.

The Enstone outfit had faced opposition from some rivals to the idea of running the 39-year-old, two-time world champion Alonso in the one-day test designated for drivers with no more than two F1 starts.

But having made their case to the FIA, which under the regulations of the test could approve an appearance by a driver who did not meet the rookie criteria, Renault have won out. Alonso’s last appearance in an official F1 test was in April 2019.

Alonso will share running in the current RS20 car with test driver Guanyu Zhou, who has never raced in F1.

“We would like to thank the FIA and F1 for their acceptance of our test plans, 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,” said Renault team boss Cyril Abiteboul.

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“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.

“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.”

Alonso has driven the RS20 but in running limited to 100km on demonstration tyres in a filming day at Barcelona in October.

He has since run in the 2018 car at Abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina circuit and at Sakhir in Bahrain.

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