Fernando Alonso returns to Renault duty in Barcelona test in prep for Formula One return

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Fernando Alonso is testing for Renault at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya in preparation for his return to Formula One in 2021.

Alonso last raced in F1 at the 2018 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. He left the sport at the end of that season, but Daniel Ricciardo's departure for McLaren next year opened the door for a return with the team he claimed his two world titles with in 2005 and 2006.

Alonso has not driven for Renault since leaving the team at the end of 2009.

Renault is using one of its two promotional filming days for Alonso's test, handing him 100km of running at the Barcelona circuit in its 2020 car. The test comes two days after Renault scored its first podium since returning to F1 as a manufacturer team, courtesy of Ricciardo's third-place finish at the Eifel Grand Prix.

Alonso said he was relishing the opportunity to get back in the car.

"Returning behind the wheel is going to be an amazing feeling," he said ahead of the test. "After two years not driving in Formula One, I'm really looking forward to it. It's going to be like a new beginning, getting surprised about the speed of the car, the braking performance, the corner speed, a lot of things which will surprise me once again."

"It's very special to be back in Barcelona, I remember my first test with Benetton in the year 2000, it was in Barcelona. It's going to be at the same circuit 20 years after that first test, it's going to be one of the last opportunities with a car named after the Renault brand because next year it's going to change. I feel really privileged, I'm looking forward to it, very excited.

"Preparing for this test was not easy, with the COVID restrictions, it was not the normal preparations, not many days in the simulator, but nevertheless, I think we are ready. It's only 100km, it's a filming day, so we will try to maximise those laps, try to get some images and some filming. I know I will learn and discover a lot of things during those laps. I will take it with a very open approach, try to learn as much as possible in every kilometre."