Friday November 9th, 2001
Former Minardi driver Fernando Alonso has said that his move to testing for the Renault Formula One team next season will be the perfect preparation for a planned return to racing in 2003.
"It is a good opportunity because between January and March I will have driven a lot more than with Minardi in the whole of last season," he was quoted as saying by Spanish sports daily As.
"It is for the following season that Renault are really targeting their efforts and this will enable me to be much better prepared," he said. "The negative side is that I will be missing out on the competition, but given that I am only 20 years old that shouldn't really be a problem."
The Spanish driver, whose contract is owned by Renault, had a good first season in Formula One with tail-enders Minardi, grabbing a best finish of 10th in the German Grand Prix. But Renault boss Flavio Briatore decided that he wanted the young driver to return to the team to support the partnership of Jarno Trulli and Jenson Button in 2002.
"I have a contract with Renault," said Alonso. "But I didn't think I would be going back to them so quickly. I will obviously miss the racing, but feel that this is an important part of my apprenticeship.
"I have already made the breakthrough to Formula One and the next step is to improve as a driver with a good car so that I can eventually fight for the World Championship."
Published at 12:07:05 GMT