Motor racing-Alonso ready to help Renault at race weekends this year

FILE PHOTO: Rallying - Dakar Rally Preview - King Abdullah Sports City, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia - January 3, 2020 Toyota Gazoo Racing's Fernando Alonso during a press conference REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed/File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) - Twice world champion Fernando Alonso said on Thursday he hoped to attend some races this year to help Renault with "anything they may need" before his Formula One comeback in 2021.

The 39-year-old Spaniard, who last raced in F1 with McLaren in 2018, is returning for a third stint with the French manufacturer team.

"It's going to be a couple of simulator days here at the factory, preparing next year and also helping somehow the weekends this year," he said of his plans in a video interview issued by Renault.

"I guess I will come to a couple of races, just to follow the team on the track side and to understand the philosophy working on the weekend.

"(The season-ender in) Abu Dhabi will be probably a must, and hopefully I can come to Imola which is close to my home in Switzerland," he added. "I will be available for the team for anything they need."

Alonso visited the team's factory at Enstone in central England for a seat fitting and also travelled to Viry-Chatillon in France to meet Renault technicians.

The Spaniard won his titles with Renault in 2005 and 2006 and also raced for them in 2008 and 2009 after a difficult season at McLaren.

"A lot of things have changed; the simulator is new, the wind tunnel is updated, a few things are the same: some of the offices, the gym that I used to visit a lot," he said of Enstone.

"It's like a first day at school with a lot of hopes, a lot of new things to learn but very productive."

"I think the team is in good shape for the future. The last three races were encouraging for everyone, for myself as well," he added.

Renault are fifth in the constructors' championship.

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Christian Radnedge)

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