Fernando Alonso on Saturday smiled when told that some of Renault’s rival teams are unhappy about his participation in the forthcoming ‘young driver test’ in Abu Dhabi.
Racing Point boss Otmar Szafnauer said in Bahrain that he disagrees with the FIA after the governing body granted the 39-year-old Spaniard special dispensation to test the 2020 Renault later this month.
“I think the rules are pretty clear – it’s a young driver test and a two-time world champion almost in his 40s isn’t a young driver,” he said.
Other midfield teams including McLaren are also unhappy, but Alonso – trackside with Renault this weekend – told reporters on Saturday: “I’m happy when they’re worried.
“I know there’s a lot of talk about me at the moment, but for me it’s just about getting up to speed again. We’re not developing anything at this test. They should all relax,” he added.
“As far as I know, Kubica and Buemi are driving too but no one is talking about them.”
Renault team boss Cyril Abiteboul hit back hard at the criticism of Alonso’s test – particularly that of Racing Point boss Szafnauer.
“If Otmar wants to make a claim, it would be remarkable given that we know they have an illegal car,” said the Frenchman.
“We have accepted the solution on that, but them complaining to the FIA would be the purest irony.”
However, Alonso admitted that it is an important outing for him.
“We don’t know what the impact of the new rules for 2021 will be – we don’t know how similar the 2020 and 2021 cars are, so the more laps you can do with this car the better,” he is quoted by Canal Plus.
“On the other hand, even if we do a lot of kilometres, it will never be enough after almost two years out. I have driven the 2018 car so I consider myself to be about 99.5 percent there.”
But with Alonso now given permission to test, Sebastian Vettel – who is moving to Racing Point (Aston Martin) for 2021 – thinks he might also get the FIA’s green light.
“I am a little amazed at how the whole issue has come up now,” said the German. “The teams had actually agreed, but apparently not. Now there are these special regulations for certain kinds of people.
“I don’t know where we are today, but of course a test like that would help me,” Vettel added.