Alonso 'needs as many laps as possible' before 2021 F1 return

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Fernando Alonso admits completing as much on track mileage as possible is crucial to being ready for his Formula 1 return next year.

After recently completing a filming day with the 2020 Renault in Barcelona, last week the double world champion managed 186 laps across two days in Bahrain driving the 2018 car.

And commenting to Sky Sports the weekend before at Imola, Alonso admitted that, with very little pre-season testing planned next year, any extra running is welcome.

“I need those laps now. The simulator is good until a certain point but then you need the physical effort of the car, the G-forces, the training of the neck,” he said.

“You can do as many elastics at home but it will never replicate the real car so I need as many laps as possible.”

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Compared to other drivers who have returned to F1 previously, notably Michael Schumacher in 2010 and Kimi Raikkonen in 2012, Alonso has barely been away having left the grid at the end of 2018 and tested for McLaren last year.

However, the 39-year-old does still expect to need a few races next year before he is fully settled in.

“Honestly I expect to be straight up to speed, but I’m aware of the challenge that maybe I face in the first couple of races,” he explained.

“Not only on pure speed but procedures on the steering wheel, commands, things that are new for me and I will need some time.

“I’m aware that maybe I will struggle a little bit but I want to think that they will not happen.”

Renault had hoped to run Alonso at the post-season young driver test in Abu Dhabi next month, but that was blocked by at least one team last week.