Renault says it has no plans to put Fernando Alonso in its Formula 1 car this season prior to his return to the championship next year.
Renault confirmed on Wednesday that two-time World Champion Alonso will return to the team in 2021 for a third spell, after two years out of the series, in place of McLaren-bound Daniel Ricciardo.
Teams have previously used practice sessions on Fridays at grands prix to ready a new or returning driver for the following season, but Renault says that is not the plan for Alonso.
“I don’t think he needs an FP1 to get familiar with the procedures in a Formula 1 car, that’s not the plan,” said team boss Cyril Abiteboul.
“We’ll see if there’s an obvious opportunity, we have always the option of running him in a 2018 car, to confirm we don’t have any firm plans.”
It is expected that Alonso will ramp up his preparations for his return to Formula 1 after he tackles the upcoming Indianapolis 500, which is scheduled for August 23.
“He will at some point get to the factories and to meet the team,” confirmed Abiteboul.
“He knows some members of the staff, some people are new, it is an opportunity to get some time in advance of next year to get familiar with the team, the way we are working, and it is clear he will be a boost for staff motivation.
“A lot of people who have joined Enstone were maybe students, or at school, when Fernando won his title with us, so for them to be exposed to be who he is, his culture for performance, the winning culture, is something that can come from Fernando.
“We will clearly try to take the opportunity of what he can bring to the team, but as far as an FP1 is confirmed I don’t think it is a necessary investment frankly.”