Former Renault director of engineering Pat Symonds expects Fernando Alonso to be the first driver to get to grips with the 2022 Formula 1 regulations.
Alonso has raced successfully in numerous categories, sampling life outside F1 before he had even stepped away from the sport at the end of 2018.
It is this experience that leads Symonds, who worked with Alonso during both his previous two spells at Renault, to believe the Spaniard will understand the new cars quicker than any other driver on the grid.
“One of the great things about Fernando is that he was very quick and very able to adapt to whatever the situation was,” Symonds told the 'Beyond the Grid' podcast.
“Will the wily old Fernando Alonso be the first to suss out how best to get the performance from that  car? I think the answer will be yes.
“I think he’ll be very quick to figure out what matters and what doesn’t matter. How to work with the engineers to get the best set-up from the car, how the 18-inch tyres behave differently from the 13-inch, all these kind of things.
“I was amused to see that he’s already starting to direct the team and tell them to forget about 2021 and get on with 2022. I think he’s pretty adaptable and he will get the best from the 2022 car.”
Symonds was questioned why Alonso, who has 22-pole positions to his name, doesn't believe his one-lap pace to be anything to shout about.
Without labelling qualifying to be a weakness, Symonds instead suggested: “You know what I think that really means? I think that his ability to stand out from the crowd is perhaps more prominent in the race than it is in qualifying.
“I think there are plenty of drivers who can do one lap in a much more competitive manner than they can do 60-70 laps in a race, and maybe that’s what he means, that there were others who could challenge him over a lap.
“That’s not to say he’s not quick over a lap, but I think there are probably others who can get close to him.
“When it comes to a race, when it comes to managing a race, when it comes to knowing how to plan that race, how to use the car during that race, he’s Schumacher-like, he’s Senna-like.
"He has that ability to really get this very holistic view of the race, sort of a God’s eye view, to picture the race from beginning to end, and how he’s going to manage it.”
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