And hopes of a resurgence in 2018 were quickly dented by the sight of the 36-year-old abruptly leaving the track and grinding to a stop on the gravel at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya after a wheel became detached from the new MCL33 after just a few laps.
Alonso's fastest time on Monday was deleted at the end of the session as he skipped the final chicane in order to get ahead of another vehicle, demoting him from fifth originally to seventh.
"Obviously it's very early days but the auto was running fine, the engine was running fine", he said. Talking about the new livery, Executive Director Zak Brown said, "Our return to a papaya orange livery for this year wasn't simply an emotional decision; it demonstrates that we are listening to our fans, building deeper engagement with them and the Formula 1 community as a whole".
"I know a lot of people from Renault from my past".
"We had a great chassis previous year and everything is looking good in the development phase but the proof is in the pudding when you hit the track". It was running very smoothly.
The Woking team endured a torrid three-year marriage to Honda with numerous union's tensest moments coming during often-fruitless weeks of testing. For those not in the know, this particular livery draws inspiration from the brand's very first race auto that also had the same color scheme fifty years ago. However, while it looked dramatic, Alonso cheekily suggested some rival teams were having far bigger difficulties behind the screens of their garages.
Alonso' s teammate Stoffel Vandoorne of Belgium will drive on Tuesday and Thursday during the first four-day training series for the Formula One teams, reports Efe.
"When asked for his thoughts about his off, Alonso said: "[I thought] that it was a good day for you guys [the media]!
"I thought exactly that because this is a very, very small problem, but very graphic, very obvious".
"At the moment, I think everyone is quite optimistic". There are six teams in the garage with the door closed with the auto in pieces, but no one sees - there are no pictures of that. "I think there is a huge potential in the McLaren-Renault team". All the teams will have a variety of issues throughout testing and we are going to lose very little time so it is no big deal.