Fernando Alonso confirms return to Formula One with Renault in 2021

8 July 2020, 12:17

File photo: The Spaniard will return to Renault, where he won two world championships, in 2021
File photo: The Spaniard will return to Renault, where he won two world championships, in 2021. Picture: PA

By Megan White

Two-time world champion Fernando Alonso will return to Formula One in 2021 with former team Renault.

Despite retiring at the end of the 2018 season, the Spaniard will return to the sport next year with the team he won successive championships with in 2005 and 2006.

Alonso, who turns 39 later this month, has competed in 311 grands prix, winning 32 of them.

He starred for Renault in the early years, before quitting McLaren after one season following a turbulent campaign alongside the then-rookie Lewis Hamilton.

He returned to Renault before a four-year period at Ferrari where he came close to winning the title on two occasions.

After leaving the Italian team, he went back to McLaren, but the switch proved unsuccessful, and he bowed out 18 months ago.

He will replace Daniel Ricciardo, who is moving to McLaren. He is taking over from Carlos Sainz ahead of his switch to Ferrari.

Renault are struggling in the sport, but Alonso will be hoping that an overhaul in the regulations and the introduction of a £115m-a-season budget cap in 2022 will fire them back up the grid. He will partner the Frenchman Esteban Ocon.

In a statement, Alonso said: "Renault is my family, my fondest memories in Formula One with my two World Championship titles, but I’m now looking ahead.

"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.

Fernando Alonso last drove for Renault in 2009
Fernando Alonso last drove for Renault in 2009. Picture: PA

"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.”

Cyril Abiteboul, Managing Director of Renault Sport Racing, said: “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.

"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.”