Earlier last week, double world champion Fernando Alonso made his first visit to Renault DP World F1 Team in preparation for his 2021 F1 campaign. The Spaniard returned to his ‘home’ team, visiting both the Enstone, UK, and Viry-Chatillon, France, sites for the first time in over 10 years.
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Fernando’s F1 career has meshed with that of Renault. He started with the team as a 21-year old in 2002 and secured his first-ever win in 2003. Both his drivers’ titles were sealed with Renault, first in 2005 and again the next year. He later returned to the team in 2008 and 2009.
Fernando and the team are however squarely looking forward and the visit this week was to get ahead of the game for 2021. Over the two-day visit to Enstone Fernando completed a full day in the on-site driver-in-the-loop simulator, a seat fit and engineering meetings with Renault DP World F1 Team technical management, plus a visit to the wind tunnel to see progress for next year. Fernando then flew to Paris to catch up with Renault engine technicians at Viry as he visited the dynos and engine
build workshops at the French site.
“Being back at Enstone was a very good experience, they were very emotional days,” commented Fernando. “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 the 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 – the 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.
“I think the team is in good shape for the future. 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 DP World F1 Team Team Principal and Managing Director Cyril Abiteboul added, “It’s been great to see Fernando back at the team in person. He’s hugely motivated to have the best start possible. 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 hitting the ground running in 2021, a key year in our progress as a team.”