Renault F1 team boss Cyril Abiteboul joked on Sky F1 in Bahrain that Renault was doing all they could to get Fernando Alonso a place at the end of season young driver test: “We are trying to do everything like face lifts and changes to his face to make him look young for the young drivers’ test.” Well, whatever, they did it seems to have worked as today it has been announced that Fernando Alonso will take part in the Abu Dhabi test having gained FIA approval.
Fernando Alonso is not a person short on confidence. Whereas Netflix has showcased F1 in their massive hit Drive to Survive, Alonso has his own documentary series simply titled ‘Fernando’ on Amazon Prime. During a press conference for the event, the two time F1 Drivers’ Champion was asked whether he agreed with the statement that he was one of F1’s most complete drivers.
“I must agree,” replied Alonso. “I consider myself to be quite complete – maybe I score nine in everything. Maybe there’s a faster driver in wet conditions or on Saturday or on the starting line, one that’s better than me… But I think I’m close to the top in many circumstances and categories, and in the championship that’s a good thing to have. It’s like when you have any top athlete doing good in every single category, in the end you win.”
As a result, many would question why such a talented driver requires a slot in Abu Dhabi but he will be there, nevertheless.
Noemí de Miguel, journalist of Movistar F1, was the first to announce on Twitter today through her official account @Noemidemiguel that Fernando Alonso has been given permission to take part in the Abu Dhabi young driver test.
The reporter stated that Renault has received confirmation from the FIA that Fernando Alonso may participate. As a result of this, the precedent set has enabled Robert Kubica and Sebastien Buemi to also be granted a place in the tests.
Later on, it was revealed on www.motorsport.com that at a meeting of sporting directors in Bahrain today FIA race director Michael Masi officially confirmed that the test has now been opened up, thanks to a decision that is understood to have come from FIA President Jean Todt, using the “unless otherwise approved by the FIA” wording in the regulations.
For many Formula One fans this will be great news as they see a return of the Spanish King to the track. However, what may also follow is the possibility that other teams will apply for the same leigh way. Therefore, we could very well see 5-time F1 Drivers’ Champion Sebastian Vettel along with Carlos Sainz and Daniel Ricciardo each getting a run out for their new team respectively. Although, more likely is that today’s ruling will only give the teams another reason to complain seeing how it is unlikely that contractual matters could be concluded so quickly to enable it.
Also, it may be prudent on a day when Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin’s news was announced to remember Romain Grosjean’s comments from the past on his entry to F1 and why his generation of racers could not reach the top of the championship:
Romain Grosjean, who was released from hospital today to the delight of motorsport fans, had previously spoken on the In The Pink podcast and said:
“You know, if I think about it, maybe the 1986/87 generation was the wrong to be in…Paul Di Resta, Nico Hulkenberg, myself, even Sebastien Buemi a little bit; we all came at a time when the top seats were taken, the old guys wouldn’t leave Formula 1 yet, and the young ones came after and we never really got our chance. That’s just the way it is.”
So, against all the odds and vocal complaints throughout the paddock - Renault got their way. Time will tell as to what the impact of this will be in the grand scheme of things but hopefully it will not hinder the chances of the stars of tomorrow and the real young drivers.