Honda F1 website

DECEMBER 15, 2006

Alonso pops up

Fernando Alonso popped up this morning for the final day of Formula 1 testing in 2006 - at the wheel of a completely-unsponsored McLaren. The test came despite remarks in recent days by Renault that Fernando would not be released from his contract until the end of the year. The test came after lengthy consultations between McLaren and Renault. Whether the effort was worth all the trouble is another matter although perhaps McLaren felt that it would be useful to have Alonso try an old car before the new 2007 car appears to get some experience of how it handles on the Bridgestone rubber.

Whatever the case, Alonso has become a McLaren driver for a day.

"Fernando asked me to test one day with his new team to acclimatize himself to the car," said Renault's Flavio Briatore. "We enjoy a very good relationship and considering his work and his fabulous achievements these past two years with the double world titles in 2005 and 2006, we decided to give him this opportunity."

Of course, Alonso might have prefered testing in the course of the last three weeks but such an act of largesse was further than Briatore was willing to go.