Alonso's experience will be 'invaluable' at Alpine

Fernando Alonso (ESP) Renault F1 Team RS20. 15.12.2020. Formula 1 Testing, Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi
© XPB 

Newly appointed Alpine F1 managing director Laurent Rossi is hoping that Fernando Alonso will be able to share his knowledge and experience with the team's young drivers.

The two-time world champion returns to Formula 1 this season in a multi-year deal with the former Renault team after two years away competing in the World Endurance Championship and at Le Mans.

This year he will be partnered with Esteban Ocon, while Alpine Academy drivers Guanyu Zhou, Christian Lundgaard and reigning Formula 3 Champion Oscar Piastri are all waiting for their own chance to step up.

“Fernando has almost 20 years of experience in Formula 1. His experience is invaluable for young drivers,” Rossi told this week.

"I am sure he will be an inspiration to the team," Rossi added. “He has taken the time to get to know the current drivers in the Academy.

Specific areas that Rossi is hoping Alonso would be able to help with include “mental and physical training advice” and “how to get the best out of the car”.

Zhou has already had the chance to work alongside Alonso during 2020, including the end of season young drivers test held at Abu Dhabi's Yas Marina Circuit in December.

“We are getting along very well," the 21-year-old Chinese driver commented. "I have definitely learned a lot in the two weeks that I spent with him.

“It was a great experience for me to learn as much as possible from a two-time world champion," he added. "He’s very clever and helps me a lot in improving my driving skills.”

Lundgaard also got a chance to see how Alonso worked behind the scenes at Abu Dhabi: "At the debriefings I sat next to him and saw how concentrated he was even though he wasn't race at all this weekend."

Alonso was discharged from hospital on Tuesday after undergoing surgery and treatment for a broken jaw following a cycling accident while training in Switzerland.

A statement from the team stated that the 39-year-old would "now have a short period of complete rest before progressively resuming training to undertake preparation for the start of the season."

It's still hoped that he will be recovered in time to take part in pre-season testing in Bahrain which starts on March 12, and for the start of the season itself.

To date, Alonso has completed 311 Grand Prix races since his debut with Minardi in Australia in 2001.

As well as winning back-to-back titles in 2005 and 2006 he's also chalked up 32 wins amid 97 podium finishes in a career that has included stints at Renault, McLaren and Ferrari.

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