Fernando Alonso said Renault’s R.S.20 was “outperforming” him on Tuesday as he returned to Formula 1 action after an 18-month break.
Alonso carried out a filming day with Renault at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya on Tuesday, completing the maximum 100km, as stipulated by Formula 1’s regulations.
It marked Alonso’s first outing in Formula 1 machinery since his last appearance for McLaren during in-season testing in 2019 as he continues to ramp up preparations for his 2021 return.
“The feeling was good, the car is outperforming me at the moment as I cannot extract the maximum from the car because getting back to Formula 1 is not so easy,” he said.
“I was improving lap after lap, to give feedback to the engineers, also we had some filming day so there were cameras and drones, so it was half-pleasure half-work today.
“I think the car has potential, we see every weekend, but there is still some room to improve so we will try and do it in the shorter term.”
Despite the limited running Alonso stressed that the outing was useful in gauging his own fitness as well as getting up to speed with Renault’s working environment.
“There are many things to get ready, first will be the fitness, you have to be back in shape, train for the F1 standards, the neck and upper body will need to be reinforced,” he said.
“The neck feels okay after 100km but I will tell you tomorrow maybe a little bit of pain but so far it has been good.
“Then preparations in terms of comfort, seat fitting, steering wheel, pedal position, 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.
“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.”