Renault has announced that Fernando Alonso and junior driver Guanyu Zhou will take part in a private three-day test that will kick off on Sunday in Abu Dhabi.
Alonso and Zhou will be behind the wheel of a 2018-spec car at Yas Marina, with the Spaniard driving on November 15 and 16 and the Chinese hopeful taking to the track net Tuesday.
For Alonso, the test is part of the 39-year-old’s preparations for his return to the grid in 2021 with Renault.
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The two-time world champion has already enjoyed a 100-km filming day at Barcelona onboard the Enstone-based team’s current R.S.20, an outing that was followed last week by 186 laps at Bahrain with Renault’s 2018 machine that was also entrusted to juniors Zhou, Christian Lundgaard and Oscar Piastri.
It is believed that Renault added the test in Abu Dhabi after several of the French outfit’s rivals opposed Alonso’s inclusion in F1’s post-season young drivers test at Yas Marina.
Renault F1 executive director Marcin Budkowski said the tests were intended to help Alonso reacclimatize himself to F1’s fast cars and to help the team fine-tune a few details regarding the Spanish driver’s requirements.
“He wants more days in a car to get used to the team, to get used to the systems, the procedures, to fine tune his seating position and the steering wheel and everything,” Budkowski explained.
“But he also hasn’t driven the car for two years. They are bloody fast cars. He needs to get back in shape, get back in the rhythm, so he’s taking any opportunity he can to drive.”
“It’s an opportunity to drive and work with him on things like the steering wheel, his favourite button position, how he wants to be able to activate all the different systems in the car, and practice our procedures,” Budkowski said.
“It seems simple but the more we practice these things, the less we have to do in winter testing. We only have three days of running for our two drivers in winter testing next year, so practicing FIA procedures, all the various things he will need to have under his belt that might be different from what he experienced before, and also getting accustom to the team.