Spanish driver Fernando Alonso firmly believes he has made the right decision by joining the Renault team as a test driver for the 2002 season. The 20-year old made his Formula One debut in 2001 with the Minardi team, and despite being unable to...
Spanish driver Fernando Alonso firmly believes he has made the right decision by joining the Renault team as a test driver for the 2002 season. The 20-year old made his Formula One debut in 2001 with the Minardi team, and despite being unable to score any points with the small Faenza-based outfit, the Spaniard impressed with his driving skills and was tipped as a potential winner for the future. Alonso had a brilliant debut season this year, placing the Minardi up as high as 17th on the grid in qualifying, showing the rest of the grid exactly what he is made of. It came as little surprise when Flavio Briatore decided to bring his driver back into the fold, the end result expected for many months now.
But despite not racing in 2002, when French manufacturer Renault will return as a team after taking over Benetton, Alonso is confident for the future and believes he made the right decision. "It was one of the possibilities that I had for the next year and I think that it was the best choice," said Alonso, who was under contract by Renault despite racing for Minardi.
"I believe that in Renault there is a future full of hope. Integrating myself as fast as possible into the team with which I should be racing in the future is something important to me. This year I learned what Grand Prix racing is, next year, I'll learn about test and development work. To start working with the engineers and members of the team is important for later on. Competition is important, but at my age I can stay as a test-driver for one year in order to learn and my career will not be altered by this. Since Japan I have been spending some days in England to undergo a physical fitness training with the Renault people and I will gradually integrate myself into the team.”
Flavio Briatore, the team's Managing Director, said: "We have followed Fernando's performance very closely this season. He did an excellent job, and we therefore decided that it was important to integrate him quickly into the Renault F1 programme. As our test driver next year, Fernando will have the opportunity to fully develop his talent and, in the seasons to come, I'm sure that he will be a strong asset in the team's challenge for the championship."
The Minardi team are yet to announce who will replace Alonso next season.
(Alonso quote courtesy of CAPSIS International for F1-Live.com)