June 12, 2021

Alonso impressed by Alpine’s Imola upgrade package


In the round-up: Formula 1 returnee Fernando Alonso got his first taste of Imola since 2006 in his Alpine-Renault A521 and it left a big smile on his face.

In brief

Alonso enjoys Imola return

Fernando Alonso was excited for two very different reasons after he marked his first day in a racing car at Imola since 2006 by going 14th fastest time in Friday practice for the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix.

“It was a fun day for sure,” said Alonso. “I think the circuit is amazing, and the modern Formula 1 cars [make it] very narrow, very fast. When you have cars around, it’s quite tricky and quite quite narrow to let the people go, to overtake the guys on the out lap, on the in-lap. So all that adrenaline is building up during the lap. It was a fun day.”

The two practice sessions were also the first appearance of aerodynamic parts that were being trialled with the option of using them in the race.

“Happy with the progress, all the new parts, they seem to work. We need to make further analysis, but we are quite optimistic that they make a step forward in terms of performance. So let’s see what we can do tomorrow.”

He also gave his predictions of how Alpine will fare in qualifying.

“It’s going to be very close. We saw in Bahrain and I don’t think that it’s going to be very different here. Two or three tenths will make six or sevens position up and down. And hopefully we are one of those in the upper part.

Di Resta makes F1 reserve driver role return

McLaren returned to using Mercedes-Benz engines in F1 at the start of 2021, and recently announced their relationship with the automotive brand and F1 rival now extends to the sharing of reserve drivers taken from Mercedes’ Formula E line-up.

On the eve of the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix, McLaren then made the surprise admission that Mercedes’ former DTM driver and ex-F1 racer Paul di Resta is a driver it also has on call for if one of its usual drivers is unable to compete.

“My focus is on this agreement we have with Mercedes,” McLaren team principal Andreas Seidl said. “We have a good relationship also with Paul di Resta, who is also in possession of a superlicence, so we have an agreement with him as well in order to jump in if the requirement is there. So we are prepared for different scenarios.

In addition to winning the BRDC’s young driver award back in 2004 when it was backed by McLaren, di Resta also has links to the team having won sportscar titles with McLaren CEO Zak Brown’s United Autosports team.

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On this day in F1

Hamilton won a frenetic Chinese Grand Prix today in 2011


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