Alonso orders Renault into work on January 1 to start 2022 prep

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Fernando Alonso has called the Renault team into work on January 1 to restart development on their 2022 Formula 1 project.

Though the double world champion returns to the grid next season, he sees more potential to fight at the front by focusing Renault, or Alpine as it will be known, on the all-new technical regulations that will be introduced the following year.

Currently, work on those cars has been banned to ensure all costs come under the new budget cap for 2021, but when that restriction is lifted, Alonso doesn't want to waste a single second.

“He is so motivated for next year and the years to come," Renault executive director Marcin Budkowski said last weekend in Turkey.

“He’s been at the factory to do some seat fittings and it was an opportunity to take him around the factory.

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“We were in the wind tunnel and he said ‘So, you can’t run the '22 car at the moment?’ and we said we can’t do it because of the regulations. So he said ‘When can you start developing?’ So we said the first of January.

“He asked ‘Are you running on the first of January?’ We said, normally we don’t, but this year we might, but it’s New Year. So he said ‘Okay, we have to run on the first of January. I will come here and help you'.”

Right now, Alonso's focus is on shaking off the rust as he completes several tests in the 2018 car in the Middle East.

And last weekend, the latest of those outings took place in Abu Dhabi as he completed 190 laps across Saturday and Sunday.

“He hasn’t driven a [F1] car for two years, they are very fast cars and he needs to get back in shape, back in the rhythm of driving the car,” added Budkowski. “So he’s taking every opportunity he can to drive.

“It is useful to work with him on things like the steering wheel, his favourite button position, how he wants to be able to activate the different systems in the car and practice the procedures.

“It seems simple, but the more we practice these things, the less we have to do in winter testing and we only have three days of running for our two drivers in winter testing next year.”

Commenting after his run at Yas Marina Circuit, Alonso said: “It was fantastic to be back in the car, to feel the Formula 1 speed again in the 2018 car, getting to know the procedures of the team.

“I enjoyed every single lap, I can’t wait until next year to be back racing and meanwhile I will support the team in the final races.”