With all his old shots, Fernando Alonso showed the fastest time for Renault in the “Young Driver Test” in Abu Dhabi.
Despite the marking of the post-season test that eight of the ten F1 teams had contested with this year’s cars, 39-year-old Alonso received special permission from the FIA - along with veterans Robert Kubica and Sebastien Buemi.
And Alonso, who will be back on the grid next year after two seasons when Renault is renamed Alpine, was able to outperform the Mercedes and Red Bull cars that were the class of the field in the 2020 season.
The Spaniard drove a best lap of 1 minute and 36.333 seconds in the afternoon and was 0.262 seconds faster than Formula E team mates Nyck de Vries and Stoffel Vandoorne in their two Mercedes W11s.
It was also 0.026 seconds faster than Alonso’s 2021 teammate Esteban Ocon’s best time for Renault in qualifying for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Sunday.
Next came Kubica with a strong performance in the Alfa Romeo, just ahead of Yuki Tsunoda, who is expected to be confirmed on the second AlphaTauri seat for 2021 in place of Daniil Kvyat.
The slowest of all 15 runners was Mick Schumacher in the Haas, although his total of 126 laps were more than all but two of the other drivers.
Alonso’s appearance as two-time former world champion in the “Young Driver Test” had caused some consternation among Renault’s rivals, as Carlos Sainz, Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel were not allowed to participate for the teams they will join next year.
Testing in Abu Dhabi … DONE!
P1 // Fernando: 1: 36.333, 105 laps
P9 // Zhou: 1: 37.902, 98 laps
– Renault F1 Team (@ RenaultF1Team) December 15, 2020
Get the official Renault 2020 collection through the Formula 1 store
McLaren and Racing Point, who will become Aston Martin, did not participate, while Haas only drove a car that was driven by 2021 F1 rookie Schumacher.
It was only the second time that Alonso drove the Renault 2020 on the track, having previously done so on a day of shooting in Barcelona.
Buemi, who drove for Red Bull, was one of the drivers who ran the least due to an early accident.
The Swiss, who competed in F1 for Toro Rosso between 2009 and 2011, drove his RB16 backwards into the barrier and damaged the rear wing.
He finished 12th overall after driving less than Juri Vips in the other Red Bull in 24 laps.
Vips was just behind Tsunoda in P6, 1.224 seconds slower than Alonso and one place ahead of Antonio Fuoco, who left Robert Shwartzman behind in a duo for Ferrari.
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