ABU DHABI: Double world champion Fernando Alonso, 39, lapped fastest in a controversial appearance for Renault in Formula One’s post-season ‘young driver’ test at Abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina circuit yesterday.
The Spaniard, winner of 32 grands prix, is not a young driver by any stretch of the imagination but has not raced in F1 for two years and was given special dispensation ahead of a comeback next year.
He completed 105 laps, nearly two race distances, with a best time of one minute 36.333 seconds.
“It was good and very nice to be back in the car,” said Alonso, who won his titles with Renault in 2005 and 2006.
“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.”
The Spaniard said the test ticked off some basic items which would help maximise the one and a half days of pre-season testing available next year.
Some other teams had questioned the fairness of allowing him to test, with Ferrari unable to run new Spanish signing Carlos Sainz. No active F1 drivers were allowed to take part.
Mercedes had Formula E drivers Nyck de Vries and Stoffel Vandoorne and they were second and third respectively. Ferrari ran Russian Robert Shwartzman and Italian Antonio Fuoco, a factory simulator driver.
AlphaTauri tested Japan’s Yuki Tsunoda, likely to step up to the F1 team next season in place of Russian Daniil Kvyat.