Fernando Alonso said Renault’s 2020 Formula 1 car was “outperforming” him as he made his return to the cockpit in a test with the team at Barcelona.

The two-time world champion, who will return to F1 with Renault next year following a two-year sabbatical, stepped up preparations for his comeback by driving 100km during a filming day with the French manufacturer at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya circuit on Tuesday.

Alonso last tested an F1 car for McLaren in Bahrain last year and was left impressed by Renault’s current R.S.20, describing it as “a nice surprise”.

"It has been a very good day in Barcelona, our filming day,” Alonso said after completing his day’s work.

"Only 100kms, but for me they were very special, getting back to an F1 car and to the team. The feeling was good. I think the car is obviously outperforming me at the moment, because I cannot extract the maximum from the car.

“Getting back to the F1 speed is not so easy. I was improving lap after lap, and trying to give feedback to the engineers.

"Also we had some filming to do, so there were cameras, there were drones following on track. So it was hard pressure, hard work today.

"I think the car has potential, as we see every weekend. But still some room to improve, as we know, and we'll try to do it in the shorter term.”

The 39-year-old Spaniard admitted he had some work to do before next season in order to be up to full speed in time for his comeback.

“With the F1 it's a little bit easier, because it's the thing that I've been driving all my life," he added.

"After 18 years in F1 and now getting back, it's true you are missing a little bit the braking points, how quick all the corners arrive, braking performance, cornering speed performance, there are many things that I need to get used to again.

"The neck is OK after 100kms, but I will tell you tomorrow! Maybe a little bit of pain. So far it has been good, but I know that I need to keep working.”

Alonso said he and Renault will be using the rest of the year as a further familiarisation process as he gets used to the working environment of the team with which he claimed back-to-back world titles in 2005 and 2006.

“There are many things we need to go through, also with the engineers, to have a good connection that we need to understand each other even just looking each other,” he explained.

“All those kinds of things will need a bit of time, but we are using this last part of 2020 and also the winter of next year to build this momentum.”

 

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