Alonso satisfied after 'more serious' Renault test in Abu Dhabi

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Fernando Alonso left Abu Dhabi more than satisfied after finishing fastest in the post-season test at Yas Marina on Tuesday.

The Spaniard's participation was controversial for many, with the single day of running initially only eligible for drivers with less than two races of experience, not a two-time world champion.

But Alonso brushed off the critics and actually triggered more excitement over his return next year, with his best time 0.026s faster than Esteban Ocon's best time in qualifying last Saturday.

“It was good and very nice to be back in the car, especially with the race team,” Alonso, who also completed 104 laps on the day, commented.

“I’ve been testing the 2018 car in preparation, but this one felt a bit more serious and it ignited a little bit the competitive spirit. It was great to feel the modern cars and experience what they can do.”

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Indeed, the Abu Dhabi test was the second time Alonso had driven this year's Renault, in addition to a filming day in Barcelona back in October.

And with the same chassis to be used next year due to limits on car development for 2021, the 39-year-old was pleased to have a proper chance to get fully acquainted with the car and the team.

“I was watching the team’s progress at the weekend closely and it was nice to experience what I learnt from the outside and then inside the cockpit today,” he added.

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“We signed off lots of basic things that we did in preparation at the factory like the seat fitting, pedal position and so on, which is beneficial with only one-and-a-half days of winter testing next year.

“We ticked boxes today and we go into Christmas and New Year with good spirit and everyone motivated in the team.”

From next year, Renault will be known as Alpine under a restructuring of Renault Group brands by CEO Luce de Meo.