Alonso visit to Renault "like a first day at school"
Fernando Alonso has described his return to Renault this week as being "like a first day at school".
For the first time in over 10 years, Alonso visited the Renault sites at both Enstone and Viry-Chatillon to undertake a three-day 'refresher course' with the team ahead of his Formula 1 comeback next season.
Alonso, who drove for the team from 2003-'06 and again from 2008-'09, winning his two world titles in '05 and '06, completed a full day in the on-site driver-in-the-loop simulator, had a seat fit and visited the wind tunnel to see progress for next year when the team is rebranded as Alpine before a trip to Viry to visit the dynos and engine-build workshops.
“Being back at Enstone was a very good experience, they were very emotional days,” said Alonso.
“A lot of things have changed - the simulator is new, the wind tunnel has been updated. But a few things are the same - there are the same offices, the gym that I used to visit a lot…
“It was like a first day at school, with lots of things to learn and get through, but it was very productive.
"I’ve followed a programme in the simulator, getting used to the car a little, testing the facilities – last time I was here the simulator didn’t exist.
"Then I had a seat fit and meetings with key people to understand the programme for next year. It was really just getting up to speed."
Believing the team to be "in good shape for the future", and after witnessing the porgress on track this season, Alonso added: "The last few races were encouraging for everyone, for myself too.
"To see Renault back in a competitive manner is a good thing for the sport and I’ve been delighted to see the improvements.
"We’ve still got a long way to go and the midfield is very tight but I think the guys have done an amazing job trackside.
"The last couple of races were very exciting to watch and I am looking forward to being back in the mix.
"I’ll now follow what the team needs from my side – some sim days, helping some weekends and being available for the team for anything they need.”
Renault team principal Cyril Abiteboul has claimed Alonso is "hugely motivated to have the best start possible".
He added: "He wants to be very involved in the preparations. Spending three days at Enstone and Viry gave both sides the opportunity to restart those links and set the foundations at a very early stage, which will be critical to hit the ground running in 2021, a key year in our progress as a team.”
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