Alonso, who won the 2005 and 2006 F1 titles with Renault, experienced a happy welcome at both Enstone (chassis development) and Viry Châtillon, France (engine) in late September.
Indeed, it marked an emotional reunion for Alonso with former team members after two previous spells with them – 2002-2006 and 2008-2009 – in which time became acknowledged as one of the sport’s all-time greats.
Over the two-day visit to Enstone, the Spaniard completed a full day in the on-site driver-in-the-loop simulator, a seat fitting and engineering meetings with Renault DP World F1 Team technical management. He also visited the wind tunnel to see progress for next year.
Alonso then flew to Paris to catch up with Renault engine technicians at Viry as he visited the dynos and engine build workshops at the French site.
“Being back at Enstone was a very good experience, they were very emotional days,” he commented. “A lot of things have changed; the simulator is new, the wind tunnel has been updated, but a few things are the same: there are the same offices, the gym that I used to visit a lot…
“It was a like a first day at school, with lots of things to learn and get through, but it was very productive. I’ve followed a programme in the simulator, getting used to the car a little, testing the facilities – last time I was here the simulator didn’t exist!
“Then I had a seat fitting and meetings with key people to understand the programme for next year. It was really just getting up to speed.”
Alonso says he has been buoyed by Renault’s increased competitiveness during the 2020 season – his visits to Enstone and Viry coming just after Daniel Ricciardo (who he will replace in 2022) had achieved fourth position in the Tuscan GP at Mugello.
He added: “I think the team is in good shape for the future. The last few races were encouraging for everyone, for myself too. To see Renault back in a competitive manner is a good thing for the sport and I’ve been delighted to see the improvements.
“We’ve still got a long way to go and the midfield is very tight, but I think the guys have done an amazing job trackside. The last couple of races were very exciting to watch and I am looking forward to being back in the mix. I’ll now follow what the team needs from my side – some sim days, helping some weekends and being available for the team for anything they need.”
Renault DP World F1 Team Principal and Managing Director Cyril Abiteboul said: “It’s been great to see Fernando back at the team in person. He’s hugely motivated to have the best start possible. He wants to be very involved in the preparations.
“Spending three days at Enstone and Viry gave both sides the opportunity to restart those links and set the foundations at a very early stage, which will be critical to hit the ground running in 2021, a key year in our progress as a team.”