Alonso encouraging Renault to begin work on 2022 car from Jan. 1st
Renault's Fernando Alonso is encouraging Renault to begin work on their 2022 challenger from January 1st, 2021.
From the announcement of his upcoming F1 campaign for Renault, Alonso has made clear that his priorities lie in 2022, when the sport is to usher in a new regulatory era, and the Spaniard hopes the French team can improve to a heightened level of competitiveness under the Alpine brand.
Other factors like the budget cap should also help the F1 team find greater success, largely erasing the spending disparity between Renault and those who they wish to pursue in the championship.
However, in part to ensure the effectiveness of a budget cap - to be implemented from the very start of 2021 - development on 2022 F1 cars is not permitted until the start of the new year in January.
Therefore, Renault will have to wait until 2021 to begin work on their 2022 challenger, but Alonso - desperately wanting to find more success in the coming seasons - has encouraged the team to begin developing a new car at the earliest possible date.
The two-time champion even offered up his own New Years' Day to visit the wind tunnel, according to Renault team executive director Marcin Bukowski, who said the following of the Spaniard's motivation at the Turkish GP: "He’s asking about anything," he said. "We were in the wind tunnel and he said ‘so, you can’t run the ’22 at the moment?’ And we said no, we can’t do it, because of the regulations.
"[He said,] ‘So when can you start developing?’ And we said first of January. ‘OK, are you running on the first of January?’ And we said normally we don’t but this year we might because it’s New Year, you know? And he said ‘yeah, OK, we have to run on the first of January. I will come here and help you on the first of January.’ So this is the level of motivation of Fernando at the moment," Budkowski said.
Alonso has been preparing himself as a driver for the 2021 season, both by testing 2018 cars of the team's and familiarizing himself with the organization. Thus far, the 39-year-old has completed two tests with the R.S.18, and a filming day with the RS20.
Budkowski says Alonso has been taking the opportunity to get a better understanding of the car and how it operates, and notes that - although perhaps not totally representative - time behind the wheel of an older car is still an asset to his return.
"Partly it is Alonso wanting to get back in shape and get back in the rhythm of driving a car but it’s an opportunity to drive… to work with him on things like the steering wheel, his favourite button position, how he wants to be able to activate all the differences in the car, practise our procedures," said Budkowski. "It seems simple but the more we practise these things, the more we have to do during the winter testing.
"We only have three days of running for our two drivers in winter testing next year so practising FIA procedures, all the various things that he will need to have under his belt, but maybe different from what he experienced before and also getting accustomed to the team but the car is different, it’s our 2018 car, we’ve improved quite a lot since ’18 but it’s the same DNA of the car, the ’20 car is a better car but at the end of the day, getting him used to a Renault car, even if it’s a two year old car, is beneficial," he said.
[This story was written by me for FormulaRapida and edited by Darshan Chokhani]