MANAMA, Bahrain — Two-time Formula One world champion Fernando Alonso, who will make a comeback with Renault next year at age 39, has been given special dispensation to take part in a post-season test intended for young drivers.
Renault team boss Cyril Abiteboul thanked the governing FIA on Thursday for allowing it “in recognition of our commitment to young drivers throughout junior motorsport and to Fernando’s own dedication to furthering the careers of young talents.”
The Spaniard’s participation in the Dec. 15 test in Abu Dhabi will not sit well with Racing Point and McLaren, who have Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo joining next year and only three days of pre-season testing.
Other experienced F1 drivers like Switzerland’s Sebastian Buemi and Poland’s Robert Kubica are also set to test for Red Bull and Alfa Romeo respectively, but neither will be racing next year.
Alonso, who has been out of Formula One since he left McLaren in 2018, will drive the team’s 2020 car alongside Chinese Formula Two racer and test driver Guanyu Zhou.
Rules limit participation in the test, which comes two days after the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, to drivers who have not driven in more than two Formula One races unless allowed to by the FIA.
Alonso, a 32-race winner who has competed in the Dakar Rally, Indianapolis 500 and twice won the 24 Hours of Le Mans, has started 311 grands prix.
The Spaniard, who won both his titles with Renault and is set to replace Ricciardo, drove the team’s current RS20 car in a ‘filming day’ in Barcelona in October.
He has also tested the team’s 2018 car in preparation for his return.