Alonso: ‘Good sign’ Enstone has changed a lot since last F1 stint

Fernando Alonso says the Alpine Formula 1 squad at Enstone feels like a “very different” team to when he last raced there with Renault, calling it a “good sign”.

Alonso: ‘Good sign’ Enstone has changed a lot since last F1 stint

Alonso will make his F1 comeback at this weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix, returning to the grid after spending the last two seasons racing in IndyCar, the World Endurance Championship and the Dakar Rally.

The two-time F1 world champion is beginning his third stint with the Enstone-based operation, having raced for Renault between 2003-2006 and 2008-2009.

Asked how much had changed at Enstone since he last raced for Renault in 2009, Alonso said the differences were extremely noticeable, particularly with the infrastructure at the team’s headquarters.

“They are very different, and that's a good sign,” Alonso said.

“After 10 years, if they were all the same, maybe that would not be good news for us.

“I think the factory has been updated quite heavily. There are more people working now, in Viry in France, also the factory has been updated and I think the level of technology that we have right now compared to 15 years ago is very different.

“I'm very happy with the things that I saw from last year. Visiting both Enstone and Viry. We have very talented people in the team. We have great designers and technicians.

“Some of the mechanics, they are still same from my last time, so that's also a good touch of the old days as well, and a good atmosphere that we all want to repeat the success we had in the past.

“But we have new people, very good spirit, very young talented people, so we are quite a nice organisation now. So hopefully we can deliver.”

Fernando Alonso, Alpine A521

Fernando Alonso, Alpine A521

Photo by: Charles Coates / Motorsport Images

Alonso made his most recent grand prix start at the end of 2018 with McLaren, after which he opted to move into other interests in racing and pursue the triple crown of motorsport.

But the Spaniard has no concerns about the challenges he faces getting back up to speed in F1, knowing he is unlikely to add to his tally of race wins or titles in 2021 given Alpine’s position in the pecking order.

“I don't fear any particular challenge,” Alonso said.

“How the midfield is right now, it is very competitive. So it's something that we are aware of, that we need to maximise and we need to be perfect every weekend if we want to score good points.

“Then another challenge but not only for me, but for everybody in the team and everybody in the paddock, will be the 23 races. We have to be just aware of that number as well, and try to save energy when you can during the year.

“Even in June, August, September, even if you feel fresh, the more you save, the better you will be in November and December.

“So there are a couple of things that after being out for two years, I will have to relearn a little bit and get used to. But in terms of driving or in terms of approaching the weekend working with a team, I think it should be quite smooth.

“I was not at home for two years. I was racing every weekend, basically. So it should be fine.”

shares
comments

Related video

How McLaren is going back to the future with Mercedes

Previous article

How McLaren is going back to the future with Mercedes

Next article

How Japan's first full-time F1 racer accelerated Tsunoda's rise

How Japan's first full-time F1 racer accelerated Tsunoda's rise
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Drivers Fernando Alonso
Teams Alpine
Author Luke Smith
The 'new' F1 drivers who need to improve at Imola Plus

The 'new' F1 drivers who need to improve at Imola

After a pandemic-hit winter of seat-swapping, F1 kicked off its season with several new faces in town, other drivers adapting to new environments, and one making a much-anticipated comeback. BEN ANDERSON looks at who made the most of their opportunity and who needs to try harder…

The delay that quashed Aston Martin’s last F1 venture Plus

The delay that quashed Aston Martin’s last F1 venture

Aston Martin’s only previous foray into Formula 1 in the late 1950s was a short-lived and unsuccessful affair. But it could have been so different, says NIGEL ROEBUCK

Formula 1
Apr 10, 2021
Verstappen exclusive: Why lack of car-racing titles won't hurt Red Bull's ace Plus

Verstappen exclusive: Why lack of car-racing titles won't hurt Red Bull's ace

Max Verstappen’s star quality in Formula 1 is clear. Now equipped with a Red Bull car that is, right now, the world title favourite and the experience to support his talent, could 2021 be the Dutchman’s year to topple the dominant force of Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes?

Formula 1
Apr 9, 2021
Are we at peak F1 right now? Plus

Are we at peak F1 right now?

For many, many years Formula 1 has strived to do and to be better on all fronts. With close competition, a growing fanbase, a stable political landscape and rules in place to encourage sustainability, 2021 is on course to provide an unexpected peak

Formula 1
Apr 8, 2021
How crucial marginal calls will decide the Red Bull vs Mercedes battle in F1 2021 Plus

How crucial marginal calls will decide the Red Bull vs Mercedes battle in F1 2021

The longer Red Bull can maintain a performance edge over Mercedes, the better the odds will be in the team’s favour against the defending world champions. But as the Bahrain Grand Prix showed, many more factors will be critical in the outcome of the 2021 Formula 1 World Championship

Formula 1
Apr 7, 2021
How Williams’ new structure adheres to a growing F1 trend Plus

How Williams’ new structure adheres to a growing F1 trend

Williams held out against the tide for many years but, as MARK GALLAGHER explains, the age of the owner-manager is long gone

Formula 1
Apr 6, 2021
When a journeyman driver's F1 career lasted just 800m Plus

When a journeyman driver's F1 career lasted just 800m

Nikita Mazepin’s Formula 1 debut at the Bahrain Grand Prix lasted mere corners before he wiped himself out in a shunt, but his financial backing affords him a full season. Back in 1993 though, Marco Apicella was an F1 driver for just 800m before a first corner fracas ended his career. Here’s the story of his very short time at motorsport’s pinnacle

Formula 1
Apr 4, 2021
The nightmare timing that now hinders Mercedes Plus

The nightmare timing that now hinders Mercedes

Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton took victory at the Bahrain Grand Prix despite, for a change, not having the quickest car. But any hopes of developing its W12 to surpass Red Bull's RB16B in terms of outright speed could not have come at a worse time.

Formula 1
Apr 2, 2021