Double world champion Fernando Alonso will make a Formula One comeback with Renault, the team he won his titles with, in 2021 after two years out of the sport, the French team announced on Wednesday.
The Spaniard, also a double Le Mans 24 Hours winner who turns 39 in July, won his championships in 2005 and 2006 and most recently raced for McLaren in the 2018 season.
“Renault is my family, my fondest memories in Formula 1 with my two World Championship titles, but I’m now looking ahead,” said Alonso. “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.”
Alonso will become the first driver to have three separate stints with a single Formula 1 team, having raced for Renault between 2003-06 (when he won two world titles), 08-09 and now from 2021 onwards.
“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 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.
“Alongside Esteban Ocon, his mission will be to help Renault DP World F1 Team prepare for the 2022 season in the best possible conditions.”
Alonso will be replaying Daniel Ricciardo, who is going to race for McLaren in 2021, and will be partnering Esteban Ocon at Renault.