Fernando Alonso will return to the Formula 1 World Championship grid in 2021 after his much-anticipated deal with the Renault F1 Team was officially confirmed.

Alonso hasn’t started an F1 race since departing McLaren at the end of the 2018 season but has been linked with a shock comeback to Renault, the team with which he clinched two world titles in 2005 and 2006.

Those rumours gathered pace when it was confirmed Daniel Ricciardo would be on his way out at the end of this season, with Renault saying it was talking with ‘top names’ over who to partner Esteban Ocon.

 

 

Ahead of this weekend's Styrian Grand Prix, round two of the 2020 F1 World Championship, those rumours have now been confirmed though the announcement only makes it clear he wil be racing for Renault in 2021 with a view to putting the team in a good position for 2022 when the new regulations come into play.

Indeed, Renault saw the new regs as a chance to lure Alonso back for 2021 prior to the FIA pushing them back by a year as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Despite the delay though, Alonso will complete one more year driving the current concept machinery with a view to racing on in 2022.

"The signing of Fernando Alonso is part of Groupe Renault’s plan to continue its commitment to F1 and to return to the top of the field," said Renault F1 team principal Cyril Abiteboul. "His presence in our team is a formidable asset on the sporting level but also for the brand to which he is very attached. The strength of the bond between him, the team and the fans make him a natural choice. In addition to past successes, it is a bold mutual choice as well as a project for the future.

"His experience and determination will enable us to get the best out of each other to take the team towards the excellence that modern Formula 1 demands. He will also bring to our team, which has grown very fast, a culture of racing and winning to overcome hurdles together. Alongside Esteban, his mission will be to help Renault DP World F1 Team prepare for the 2022 season in the best possible conditions.”

This will be Alonso’s third stint as a Renault F1 driver having competed between 2003 and 2006 and then again in 2008 and 2009 after his relationship with McLaren broke down.

Despite taking two years out, Alonso remains one of the sport’s most experienced and successful racers, clinching 32 grands prix wins across 311 career starts. Since departing Mclaren, Alonso has gone on to win the Le Mans 24 Hours, compete in the Indianapolis 500 and the Dakar Rally.

However, his high -profile return to Renault comes at a pivotal time for the team. Though it has recently reaffirmed his commitment to F1 despite wide scale job losses at the company, Renault has struggled to make a significant impression since returning to the sport as a full factory team in 2016.

 

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