Renault has announced that Fernando Alonso will participate in the post-season Abu Dhabi Formula 1 test which was originally intended for young drivers.

Alonso has been granted permission to run in the one-day test at the Yas Marina Circuit following the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix from the FIA after lobbying by Renault.

It means the two-time F1 world champion will get some valuable and unrestricted mileage in the team’s current 2020 car, the RS20, which it will carry over into 2021.

The end-of-year test was originally designated for young drivers who had completed in no more than two grands prix, but Renault has been allowed an exemption to run Alonso with the French manufacturer keen to get the Spaniard up to speed due to a cut back pre-season testing schedule next year.

Alonso is returning to the sport following a two-year hiatus for his third stint at the Enstone squad, which is rebranding to Alpine ahead of next season.

He will share testing duties with one of Renault’s junior drivers, Formula 2 racer Guanyu Zhou, in the test on 15 December.

“We would like to thank the FIA and F1 for their acceptance of our test plans, made in recognition of our commitment to young drivers throughout junior motorsport and to Fernando’s own dedication to furthering the careers of young talents,” said Renault’s managing director Cyril Abiteboul.

“Zhou has experienced the benefit of the Renault Sport Academy, having joined its ranks last year. He has worked hard and made a genuine contribution to the performance of the team through his work in the simulator and test programme. I am delighted he can drive the RS20 to complement his journey so far.

“For Fernando this will be the next step in his return. He has worked tirelessly to make sure he is as ready as he possibly can be for 2021. He wants to contribute fully – not just to the team, but to the fans and the sport he has missed in the past two years.”

Alonso previously tested Renault’s current car in a short filming day at the Circuit de Barcelona Catalunya earlier this year, before conducting further tests in 2018-spec machinery in Bahrain and Abu Dhabi.

Robert Shwartzman and Antonio Fuoco have been confirmed as driving for Ferrari, while Callum Ilott will get an outing for Alfa Romeo, and Roy Nissany and Jack Aitken will be in action for Williams.

 

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