Fernando Alonso travelled to southern Spain last night ahead of his surprise test debut for McLaren on Friday, the website of Spanish newspaper Diario As reports.
As.com claims that Renault boss Flavio Briatore gave the green light for a contract reprieve at lunchtime on Thursday, allowing the back to back world champion to drive an unbranded white MP4-21 on the last day of 2006 testing.
Alonso will take over Pedro de la Rosa’s test car, which set the fastest lap of the nineteen runners on day two.
‘As’ says Alonso spoke personally with Briatore about the issue at the FIA awards last Friday, after they received their trophies for winning the drivers’ and constructors’ titles this year.
Alonso’s personal manager, Luis Garcia-Abbot, subsequently met with Briatore in London this week, ahead of a last-minute decision to allow the driver to test. Alonso had checked into the nearby Montecastillo Hotel on Thursday without knowing if he would test.
Alonso’s old Renault teammate Jarno Trulli, meanwhile, warned the reigning champion to expect a tough season in 2007.
The Toyota driver told Diario As: “Even a champion cannot win without a good car, and at the moment McLaren are behind Renault and Ferrari.”