Marcin Budkowski, the Executive Director at the Renault DP World F1 Team, says Fernando Alonso will go into the 2021 season at a disadvantage to many of his rivals after not competing at the highest level of single-seater racing for two years.
Alonso will return to Formula 1 with Renault next season after last competing in the sport back in 2018. He has been concentrating racing in the FIA World Endurance Championship in that time as well as competing in his second Indianapolis 500 and first Dakar Rally in 2020.
Since being announced to replace the McLaren F1 Team bound Daniel Ricciardo, Alonso has been testing 2018 machinery around Europe, and tested the R.S.20 for the first time in the post-season test in Abu Dhabi last week, setting the best time of the day.
But despite his impressive-looking return, Budkowski says his absence from Formula 1 for the past two campaigns will work against the thirty-nine-year-old Spaniard despite his vast experience in the sport.
“I think you mean how much less of a disadvantage does he have? Because he hasn’t been driving for two years,” Budkowski is quoted as saying by Motorsport.com. “I understand that for Carlos [Sainz] or Daniel [Ricciardo] changing teams next year and getting accustomed to a different team is tricky.
“There’s lots to learn, different ways of working, different engineer, but in the case of Fernando he hasn’t been driving for two years at all. So, this is why we’re trying to give him some track time and also some track time on the 2018 car just to get him back in the rhythm, get him back in the physical condition, the neck and things like this, which he needs.
“Yes, it’s going to be tricky for Fernando to get used to the car in one and a half days of testing, but I think even more so because he hasn’t driven for so long.”