Alonso and Zhou to test for Renault at Abu Dhabi

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Renault DP World F1 Team confirmed today that Guanyu Zhou and Fernando Alonso will drive in the one-day post-season test held at the Yas Marina Circuit on Tuesday 15 December.

Formula One teams are set to stay at Abu Dhabi following the season-closing round of the 2020 season as part of the Young Driver Test. Renault has now confirmed that Fernando Alonso will get behind the wheel of the Renault R.S.20 car that has contested the 2020 FIA Formula One World Championship. The Spaniard is set to make his return to Formula One in 2021, driving for Renault with which he has won his two Formula One World Championship titles.

The Oviedo-born has completed an intensive programme in recent weeks in order to get himself ready for his return. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the current cars will be carried over to 2021 and the pre-season testing will only comprise three days, meaning that drivers are expected to have only one and half a day of testing before the season kicks off.

The two-time F1 champion has already tested with Renault cars at Barcelona and Bahrain earlier, but he was not expected to complete any other on-track runs this season as the post-season test is traditionally earmarked as a young driver test, giving junior drivers a chance to get behind the wheel of Formula One cars.

However, Renault succeeded in reaching an agreement with Formula One and the FIA to allow Alonso to get a day of running in the 2020 Renault machinery.

Renault will give its other car to Formula 2 races Guanyu Zhou. The Chinese driver has already done five days of F1 testing in 2020, albeit in a 2018-spec car.

“Commenting on the announcement, Renault Team Principal Cyril Abiteboul said: "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.

“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 R.S.20 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.”