Fernando Alonso to return to F1 with Renault in 2021


Fernando Alonso will return to Formula 1 with Renault next season after agreeing a multi-year deal with the manufacturer, it was confirmed on Wednesday.

Over at Racer, F1 reporter Chris Medland says that Renault is set to announce Alonso's return to the team tomorrow.

Alonso left F1 at the end of the 2018 after a poor run at McLaren.

The two-times Le Mans 24 Hours endurance victor and former Ferrari driver, who turns 39 this month, secured his championships in 2005 and 2006 and most recently raced for McLaren in 2018.

The 39-year-old, who is a two-time Le Mans 24 Hours victor, won his championships in 2005 and 2006 and drove for McLaren in the 2018 season.

Alonso, who turns 39 later this month, will replace the McLaren-bound Daniel Ricciardo alongside Esteban Ocon. "In addition to past successes, it is a bold mutual choice as well as a project for the future", said Renault team boss Cyril Abiteboul.

"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".

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"It's a great source of pride and with an huge emotion I'm returning to the team that gave me my chance at the start of my career", Alonso said.

That remains to be seen considering Renault struggled last season, finishing fifth in the constructors' championship and one place behind McLaren, the team it supplies engines to. And even if he performs at the same level he always has, Renault's slip back down the grid means that fighting for Grand Prix victories once again could be a loftier goal than winning the Indianapolis 500-and motorsport's esteemed Triple Crown with it. The team is expected to tap Alonso's decades of experience for development of a radically new F1 vehicle to be introduced for the 2022 season.

"I have principles and ambitions in line with the team's project", Alonso said.

Alonso showed remarkable consistency when finishing on the podium in the first nine races of the 2006 campaign, and has 97 top-three finishes in total in F1.

Alonso has competed in 311 grands prix, winning 32 of them, but has not tasted victory in more than seven years and last stepped on the podium back in 2014.

Alonso is the third-youngest world champion at 24 years, 59 days and fourth-youngest to win an F1 race at 22 years, 26 days.