Styrian Grand Prix – Fernando Alonso will return to Formula 1 in 2021 with his former Renault team, having left F1 two years ago.
Fernando Alonso is confirmed at the Renault team for 2021, having been signed as the replacement driver for the departing Daniel Ricciardo.
Alonso walked away from Formula 1 and McLaren at the end of the 2018 season, having grown tired of racing in the midfield as McLaren struggled for form. With no competitive seats open to him, he decided to leave but emphasised at the time that it was not a retirement. He proceeded to win the World Endurance Championship title with his Toyota teammates, and is also set for an IndyCar return next month at the Indy 500.
With Ricciardo leaving Renault to switch to McLaren, an open seat opened up which Alonso has filled. The 39 year old Spaniard has raced for Renault twice before. Winning the title with the Enstone team in 2005 and 2006, Alonso left for McLaren but returned in 2008 after a falling out with team boss Ron Dennis. This stint was less successful, with the highlight being a marred victory at the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix.He left again to join Ferrari at the end of 2009.
Alonso has been announced on a multi-year deal with the team, which will take him through into his 40s. His teammate will be Esteban Ocon.
“Renault is my family, my fondest memories in Formula One with my two World Championship titles, but I’m now looking ahead.” said Alonso of his return. “It’s a great source of pride and with an immense emotion I’m returning to the team that gave me my chance at the start of my career and which now gives me the opportunity to return to the highest level. I have principles and ambitions in line with the team’s project.”
“Their progress this winter gives credibility to the objectives for the 2022 season and I will share all my racing experience with everyone from the engineers to the mechanics and my team-mates. The team wants and has the means to get back on the podium, as do I.”
Team boss Cyril Abiteboul said “”The signing of Fernando Alonso for 2021 is part of Groupe Renault’s plan to continue its commitment to F1 and to return to the top of the field. 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.”
It’s not the first time a contemporary World Champion has left Formula 1, only to return. Kimi Raikkonen missed 2010 and 2011, but returned with the Enstone team, then Lotus, in 2012. Michael Schumacher was tempted out of retirement to join Mercedes in 2010, and raced with them until the end of 2012.
Breaking news. More to follow.
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