Fernando Alonso Returns To Happy Hunting Ground

Jarrod Partridge

Fernando Alonso, winner of the 2006 British Grand Prix for Renault, is looking forward to returning to a happy hunting ground as he embarks on the first ‘sprint qualifying’ race of 2021.

The French manufacturer will also have something of a home-ground advantage, with the team also having a base at Enstone.

Fernando Alonso Keen To Make More Good Memories

With memories of his 2006 win still fresh in his mind, Fernando Alonso is keen to make more positive memories this weekend at Silverstone.

“It’s a fantastic circuit and always provides us drivers with good racing. I’ve had some memorable results there, with my win in 2006 for Renault one of the best memories. There is a good mix of high and medium-speed corners and, of course, the weather can be variable so it should be an interesting weekend. It’s good to be at the team’s other home Grand Prix and with it being so close to Enstone, I will be visiting the factory before the race. I enjoy most of the circuit but if I had to choose one part it would be the high-speed middle sector from Copse through to Maggotts and Becketts. Taking this section at such speed and high levels of grip in a modern Formula 1 car is thrilling as a driver. It’s quite harsh on tyres there due to the fast-flowing corners so that will be something we will need to manage over the weekend. It will also be great to see fans in the grandstands as it has a very special atmosphere,” said Alonso.

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Fernando AlonsoImage credit Alpine F1 Team

Esteban Ocon Looking Forward To Sprint Qualifying

With a ‘sprint qualifying’ race featuring for the first time, Esteban Ocon is looking forward to the new format, and hopes to make an impact.

“Silverstone is an iconic circuit in Formula 1. Everything about Silverstone is associated with what Formula 1 is about, like all the history there and the legendary corner combinations it has. The run through Maggots, Becketts and Chapel is very special. In a Formula 1 car, that’s about as good as it gets through the whole year and going flat out through that sequence is a fantastic feeling. The Sprint Qualifying is certainly going to freshen up the race weekend. It brings a new dynamic to the event, so I’m interested to see how it will unfold. Before that, though, we have to plan a productive Free Practice and then make sure we’re as far up the grid as possible in qualifying on the same day. It’s going to be different to usual, but I like the idea and I’m looking forward to seeing how it will go,” added Ocon.

Home Away From Home For Alpine

Silverstone is Alpine’s home away from home, with their Enstone factory just 26 miles from the circuit, meaning many of the staff will be trackside as a new era in F1 begins.

“We’re looking forward to trialling the new race weekend format for the very first time this weekend in Silverstone. It’s definitely something new and will create some action on all three days. For the teams, the main challenge will be to setup the cars and build the drivers’ confidence in one hour of practice on Friday morning only, as we then go straight into Qualifying. The cars will be in parc ferme from that point onwards, which means we can’t really touch them anymore. There are also different rules for tyre usage, including free choice for the race itself. We expect the new format to bring more uncertainty as some teams will get it right and others might not, which could mix the grid up and create more on-track action. Teams hate unpredictability as they always try to optimise everything to perfection, but it should be more exciting for the fans!” concluded Executive Director Marcin Budkowski.

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