Alonso turns back the clock, Schumacher gives a glimpse into the future at Abu Dhabi GP


Mick Schumacher tests the car during practice at Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. — Reuters
Mick Schumacher tests the car during practice at Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. — Reuters

Abu Dhabi - Alonso will be back for a third stint with Renault

By James Jose

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Published: Fri 11 Dec 2020, 10:40 PM

As Fernando Alonso prepares himself to return for another gig in Formula One, it was only fitting that the double world champion marks his return at the very place where he had bid adieu to the sport, a little over two years ago.

The Spaniard was back at the scene where he drove his race — the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi — and where the F1 fraternity had hosted a farewell event in the paddock titled ‘Gracias Fernando.’

Alonso will be back for a third stint with Renault, the team with which he won back-to-back world championships in 2005 and 2006, next season.

Alonso, who began his career with back markers and now-defunct Minardi, before moving on to Renault, McLaren and Ferrari, will take the seat following the departure of Australian Daniel Ricciardo to McLaren.

And ahead of the season-ending Formula One Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix this weekend, Alonso turned back the clock.

The 39-year-old from Oviedo, was reunited with the V10 R25 and he drove the 2005 championship-winning car for a demonstration run after first practice.

The run was held to mark Renault’s transition to being rebranded Alpine next season. Alonso will again be behind the wheel of the distinct blue and yellow-liveried R25 on Saturday as well as on raceday on Sunday.

“This car still sooooo fast. Now with the slick tires even more. What a feeling. What a weekend it will be. More laps tomorrow. Best way to Thank @RenaultF1Team for this era ,and Welcome Alpine @alpine_cars for the future #f1 #v10 #Renault #Alpine #RSspirit,” Alonso posted on his official Twitter handle.

“It’s the stuff of dreams. 15 years after winning the @F1 championship, car and driver are reunited! The R25 taking to the track in Abu Dhabi with @alo_oficial at the wheel,” the team tweeted on its official handle.

Apart from Alonso, it was a special day for Abu Dhabi in more ways than one with F1 given a glimpse into the future. The Yas Marina Circuit was witness to a rare and special occurrence on Friday with a Schumacher behind the wheel of an F1 car.

Mick, the son of legendary champion Michael, made his debut in the first free practice for Haas. He drove the VF-20 in the 90-minute session and had a best time of 1:41.235 seconds over 23 laps.

“I would say things went pretty smoothly today in FP1. I was getting used to the car and felt comfortable with every switch and then every switch change in the car. @HaasF1Team @insideFDA #F1 #AbuDhabiGP,” Mick tweeted.

The freshly-minted Formula 2 champion will get more opportunities to get accustomed to the workings of F1 when he takes part in the Young Drivers Test following the race in Abu Dhabi. Alonso will also be taking part in the test and it would be a fascinating sight to see him go up against the young Schumacher.

The 21-year-old has been signed up by Haas and takes the seat that will be vacated by Kevin Magnussen.

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