Alonso to take part in F1 ‘young driver’ test — he’s 39
MANAMA, Bahrain – Two-time F1 world champion Fernando Alonso, who'll create a comeback with Renault next year at 39, continues to be given special dispensation to get familiar with a post-season test intended for young drivers.
Renault team boss Cyril Abiteboul thanked the governing FIA on Thursday for allowing it “in recognition of our resolve for young drivers throughout junior motorsport and also to Fernando's own dedication to furthering the careers of young talents.”
The Spaniard’s participation in the Dec. 15 test in Abu Dhabi will not sit well with Racing Point and McLaren, who've Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo joining next year and just 72 hours of pre-season testing.
Other experienced F1 drivers like Switzerland’s Sebastian Buemi and Poland’s Robert Kubica will also be set to test for Red Bull and Alfa Romeo respectively, but neither is going to be racing next year.
Alonso, that has been from Formula One since he left McLaren in 2021, will drive the team’s 2021 car alongside Chinese Formula Two racer and test driver Guanyu Zhou.
Rules limit participation within the test, which comes 2 days after the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, to drivers who have not driven in more than two Formula One races unless permitted to by the FIA.
Alonso, a 32-race winner that has competed in the Dakar Rally, Indianapolis 500 and twice won the Twenty four hours of Le Mans, has started 311 grands prix.
The Spaniard, who won both his titles with Renault and it is set to replace Ricciardo, drove the team’s current RS20 car inside a ‘filming day’ in Barcelona in October.
He has additionally tested the team’s 2021 car when preparing for his return.