Alonso confirmed to take part in 'young driver' test in Abu Dhabi

F1

Two-time Formula 1 world champion Fernando Alonso will take part in the young driver test following the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

FATest2020

Alonso will test the 2020 Renault car ahead return next year

Renault F1 Media

Renault has confirmed that Fernando Alonso will take part in the post-Abu Dhabi Grand Prix young driver test at Yas Marina alongside F2 and Academy driver, Guanyu Zhou.

The 39-year-old and two-time F1 world champion will take to the track alongside rookies such as Mick Schumacher, Robert Shwartzman and Zhou having already conducted a filming day in the 2018 Renault earlier this year.

Alonso took part in the private test at the Circuit de Catalunya back in October as part of his preparations to return to the F1 cockpit next season, with the young driver test the latest event in his efforts.

Zhou, 21, currently sits in eighth position in the F2 standings with two races remaining. Another F2 and Renault Academy driver Christian Lungaard, 19, is sixth in the F2 championship but will not get to test in Abu Dhabi for Renault.

The test is restricted to drivers who have not raced in more than two grands prix, but there is leeway for the FIA to make an exemption on a case-by-case basis.

Renault’s successful campaign to trigger this exemption will allow a two-time champion to be on track with the rookies.

“We would like to thank the FIA and F1 for their acceptance of our test plans, made in recognition of our commitment to young drivers throughout junior motorsport and to Fernando’s own dedication to furthering the careers of young talents,” F1 team principal Cyril Abiteboul said.

“Zhou has experienced the benefit of the Renault Sport Academy, having joined its ranks last year. He has worked hard and made a genuine contribution to the performance of the team through his work in the simulator and test programme. I am delighted he can drive the R.S.20 to complement his journey so far.

“For Fernando this will be the next step in his return. He has worked tirelessly to make sure he is as ready as he possibly can be for 2021. He wants to contribute fully – not just to the team, but to the fans and the sport he has missed in the past two years.”

Rival teams had been opposed to the idea of Alonso getting to test at the event usually reserved for rookies and junior drivers.

Alonso will be the second oldest driver on the grid when he does make his return next season, shaded only by 41-year-old Kimi Räikkönen.