Formula 1

Alonso tops post-season tests at Abu Dhabi

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Fernando Alonso (ESP) Renault F1 Team RS20. Formula One Testing, Tuesday 15th December 2020. Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, UAE.

Fernando Alonso, driving the Renault RS.20 for the second time after a filming day in Barcelona, topped the timing sheets in the post-season ‘young driver’ tests at the Yas Marina Circuit, completing 105 laps. On the other side of the Renault garage, Renault driver academy star Guanyu Zhou completed 98 laps and finished the day with the ninth fastest lap.

The Spanish driver who was already a cause of controversy due to his age participating in the ‘young drivers test’ told the press that this test has “ignited his competitive spirit.” Elsewhere around the field the Mercedes Benz Formula E pairing of 2019 Formula 2 champion Nyck De Vries and 2015 GP2 champion Stoffel Vandoorne put in the second and third fastest laps respectively with De Vries putting in 110 laps and Vandoorne putting in 82 laps.

In the Red Bull Racing garage, young driver Jüri Vips put in the sixth fastest lap, whilst his team-mate for the test Nissan Formula- E driver Sébastien Buemi crashed and lost valuable running time early on in the test.

F2 Vice-champion Callum Ilott finished in eighth place, one place behind Ferrari development driver Antonio Fuoco. Fuoco’s team-mate for the day, Robert Shwartzman was getting his first run in a modern formula one car and finished the day in eleventh place.

Ahead of his highly anticipated Formula 1 debut next year, Mick Schumacher was the sole driver for Haas ending the day last of all runners after 125 laps in the car. Red Bull’s sister team, Alpha Tauri finished the day with drivers recording the fifth (Yuki Tsunoda) and thirteenth fastest lap times (Marino Sato).

Robert Kubica who has had experience of the car in multiple free practice sessions finished the day with the fourth fastest time and completing 89 laps. In the Williams garage, reserve driver and recent F1 debutant Jack Aitken rounded out the day with the tenth fastest lap, whilst on the other side of the garage development driver Roy Nissany completed a day of minimal running for Williams with the fourteenth fastest lap.

The test which was previously planned to be 3 days long, was cut short to reduce costs in the wake of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Two teams did not appear at the test, one of them being McLaren who were opposed to the FIA’s decision to allow ‘older’ drivers such as Alonso to run in the test, and the other team Racing Point for the same reasons, with team principal Otmar Szafnauer stating “It’s a young driver test, and a two-time world champion almost in his forties to me isn’t a young driver.”

1Fernando AlonsoRenault1:36.333105
2Nyck De VriesMercedes1:36.595+0.262110
3Stoffel Vandoorne Mercedes1:36.840+0.50782
4Robert KubicaAlfa Romeo1:37.446+1.11389
5Yuki TsunodaAlpha Tauri1:37.557+1.224123
6Jüri Vips Red Bull1:37.770+1.437101
7Antonio FuocoFerrari 1:37.817+1.484126
8Callum IlottAlfa Romeo1:37.826+1.49393
9Guanyu ZhouRenault1:37.902+1.56998
10Jack AitkenWilliams1:38.153+1.82078
11Robert ShwartzmanFerrari1:38.157+1.824129
12Sébastien BuemiRed Bull1:38.284+1.95177
13Marino SatoAlpha Tauri1:38.495+2.162127
14Roy NissanyWilliams1:39.800+3.46775
15Mick SchumacherHaas1:39.947+3.614125
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