Renault: Fernando Alonso at a ‘Disadvantage’ Compared to F1 Rivals

Published 12/20/2020, 6:01 AM EST
NORTHAMPTON, ENGLAND – JULY 05: Fernando Alonso of Spain and McLaren F1 arrives at the circuit during previews ahead of the Formula One Grand Prix of Great Britain at Silverstone in Northampton, England. (Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images)


The 2021 season is full of promise for the F1 fans, and a host of drivers are swapping teams amongst themselves. However, there is an exception in Fernando Alonso, who last drove for McLaren in 2018.

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He is not just technically switching teams but also coming back out of retirement to race for Renault next season.

In light of that, Renault‘s executive director, Marcin Budkowski, feels that puts him at a disadvantage compared to his rivals. Speaking after the last day of the Abu Dhabi test, he sympathized with the Spaniard.

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Formula One F1 – Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates – December 13, 2020 Fernando Alonso poses for a picture with the Renault R25 before driving a lap Pool via REUTERS/Bryn Lennon

Why Budkowski feels the sabbatical hinders Fernando Alonso

“I think we have to consider the disadvantage with which he will start compared to the rest of the drivers on the grid considering that he has not raced in Formula 1 for two years,” said Budkowski.

Hence, this was the reason the team wants him to get as much track time as possible. Even if that means bending the rules slightly, and drawing criticism for his participation at the ‘Young Driver Test’ in Abu Dhabi.

Budkowski also explained what he told Alonso regarding his rustiness.

“For this reason, we have prepared an extended test program behind the wheel of the 2018 car. We want you to find the rhythm, to find the physical condition and everything you need,” Budkowski expressed.

Limited winter testing complicates it further

The FIA limited testing to reduce emissions and save the costs of the teams. While a couple of years ago, they allowed six days of pre-season testing in Barcelona, they recently reduced it to just three days with only one car allowed per team.

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“It will be difficult for Fernando to get used to the car in just a day and a half of testing. This will be true for most of the drivers, but especially for him given his two-year absence from F1,” said Budkowski. (quotes translated via Google).

Formula One F1 – Emilia Romagna Grand Prix – Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari, Imola, Italy – Fernando Alonso is interviewed FIA/Handout via REUTERS

He kept himself busy with other racing ventures like Rally, Indy racing, and Le Mans. However, F1 is a different beast altogether. The margins are very slim in the pinnacle of motor racing.

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Hence, to topple Hamilton and Mercedes, Alonso and Renault want to take every measure.

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Bharat Aggarwal

755 articles

Bharat Aggarwal is a sports analyst for EssentiallySports, covering Formula 1 and NBA. A Delhi University graduate, Bharat has multi-year experience in sports writing, having closely worked with the content strategy aspect as well. Bharat Aggarwal supports Manchester United, Lewis Hamilton, Cristiano Ronaldo, Rafael Nadal, Dirk Nowitzki, Sachin Tendulkar, Ayrton Senna, Kristaps Porzingis, and Dallas Mavericks.

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