Fernando Alonso and Renault have been facing the heat from the Formula 1 community. The talk of the town is the Spaniard taking part in the Formula ‘Young Driver Test’ with Renault after Abu Dhabi GP.
The test is aimed at inexperienced drivers who have competed in two or fewer races. The 39-year-old driver, who has two driver’s World Championships under his belt, is neither young nor inexperienced.
This has led to widespread criticism of the team and its incumbent driver. However, Renault Team Principal Cyril Abiteboul is having none of it.
Almost making a mockery of his peers’ complaints, he said, “I appreciate there has been lots of buzz around that. We started the year with some controversy; we finish the year with another type of controversy but it’s good. It keeps the sport alive also.”
The reasons are quite clear for the French manufacturers. Alonso is coming back to the F1 scene as a driver after a gap of two years. He has been taking part in other motorsports ventures like Indy and Rally. However, they simply pale in comparison to the level of F1.
Explaining the rationale behind the test, Abiteboul said, “It’s very much a human thing that we’re doing for Fernando. When we decided with Fernando and Fernando also decided to come back to Formula 1, he’s been very clear that he wanted to have as much mileage as possible under his belt before next year.
“As you know, the regulation put a clear limit to that, so we’ve done quite a lot, four days with a two years old car and also we thought it would be a nice thing to be able to do that with a current car. We asked, frankly, and the FIA approve it, as simple as that.”
Box-office, outspoken, and an irritant for his rivals; Fernando Alonso is officially back. His team radios during his frustrating spell with McLaren are legendary, and perhaps his controversial nature is good for Formula 1. Even if he doesn’t bring his world championship-caliber back, he will certainly bring a lot of fireworks.