Fernando Alonso will end his two-year hiatus from Formula 1 in 2021 after officially signing with Renault to replace McLaren-bound Daniel Ricciardo.
Alonso walked away at the end of 2018 having become disillusioned with the sport’s direction, as well as a lack of opportunities to compete for wins and championships.
In the meantime, the Spaniard has attempted to become just the second driver to accomplish motorsports triple crown – winning Monaco, Le Mans and the Indy 500 – although the latter still eludes him.
The lure of the new technical regulations in 2022 has been a big advocate in Alonso repeating his desire to come back to F1, with his former boss Flavio Briatore insisting he was “motivated” to return.
This will be Alonso’s third stint with Renault having driven for the French outfit from 2003-2006 and 2008-2009, winning two drivers’ titles in 2005 and 2006 and claiming 17 victories.
“Renault is my family, my fondest memories in Formula 1 with my two world championship titles, but I’m now looking ahead,” Alonso said.
“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.”
Despite Renault not revealing the length of the ex-Ferrari and McLaren driver’s deal, it is expected Alonso’s contract will run for two years to help the Enstone-based outfit fight back to the front of the grid.
Renault managing director Cyril Abiteboul said the double world champion’s arrival proves the team is here to stay.
“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,” he said.
“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.”