Alonso to test for McLaren today (updated)
Fernando Alonso travelled to southern Spain last night ahead of his surprise test debut for McLaren today.
As.com claims that Renault boss Flavio Briatore gave the green light for a contract reprieve at lunchtime on Thursday, allowing the double World Champion to drive an unbranded MP4-21 on the last day of 2006 testing.
Alonso takes over Pedro de la Rosa's test car, which set the fastest lap of the nineteen runners on day two.
The publication 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 García-Abad, 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 team-mate Jarno Trulli, meanwhile, warned the reigning champion to expect a tough season in 2007.
"Even a champion cannot win without a good car, and at the moment McLaren are behind Renault and Ferrari."
Meanwhile, Michael Andretti arrived at the Jerez circuit on Thursday to prepare for his son's F1 test debut.
Impressive IndyCar rookie Marco Andretti, 19, will test for Honda today, and while team chiefs have played down the significance of his debut, Nick Fry said yesterday: "Clearly if he enjoys himself and we think there's a spark there, there's the opportunity to do more."
Andretti was also spotted behind the spectator fences at the Spanish test venue in conversation with Honda's sporting director Gil de Ferran, who retains close ties with the American race scene.