Fernando Alonso admitted “the car is outperforming me at the moment” after driving the Renault R.S. 20 for the first time in Barcelona.
The two-time former World Champion took part in a filming day at the Circuit de Catalunya, grabbing the opportunity to sample the car that will evolve into the one with which he contests the 2021 F1 season.
The 39-year-old Spaniard announced his return to Formula 1 earlier this year as the replacement for Daniel Ricciardo at the team with whom he won his two World Championships in 2005 and 2006.
Ricciardo is moving on to McLaren, for whom Alonso last competed in F1 between 2015 and 2018.
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“Thanks everyone, it was good to be back in the car and with you guys.” @alo_oficial #RSspirit #FernandoAlonso pic.twitter.com/mm3unChmMI
— Renault F1 Team (@RenaultF1Team) October 13, 2020
“It’s been a very good day here in Barcelona, our filming day,” said Alonso during a Renault team Instagram video.
“Only 100 kilometres but for me they were very special, getting back into an F1 car with the team and a good opportunity to feel the R.S. 20 in my hands.
“The feeling was good. I think the car is outperforming me at the moment – I cannot extract the maximum from the car because getting back to Formula 1 speed is not so easy. I was improving lap after lap and trying to give feedback to the engineers.
“Also, we had some filming to do so there were cameras and drones following on track, so it was hard pressure, hard work today.
“I think the car has potential, as we see every weekend. But there is still some room to improve, as we know, and we will try to do it in the shorter term.”
Alonso specified the areas in which he had been rusty – and also suspected he may be feeling the exertions somewhat when he wakes up in the morning.
“The neck feels okay after 100 kilometres but I will tell you tomorrow, there may be a little bit of pain,” he said. “I know I have to keep working.
“The last three cars I drove [competitively] were in the Dakar Rally in January, IndyCar in August and now Formula 1, so they could not be more separated. With Formula 1 it’s a little bit easier because it’s the thing I’ve been driving all my life.
“After 18 years in Formula 1 and now getting back, it’s true that you miss a little bit the braking points, how quick the corners arrive, braking performance, cornering speed performance, so there are many things I need to get used to again.
“But it will take a shorter period of time than getting used to a completely new thing, for example Dakar and Indy.”
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