Racing Article

Fernando Alonso Returns to Formula One to Race for Renault in 2021

Fernando Alonso Returns to Formula One to Race for Renault in 2021 Photo: TT
Fernando Alonso winning the San Marino Grand Prix in 2005.

The thirty-eight-year-old will join the F1 grid next year for a third stint with the French factory team, partnering Esteban Ocon in 2021.

A statement released this morning by Renault reads: “The desire is to build a team around two complementary drivers, combining experience and youth, and pooling their values and talent in the service of the project. Fernandos fighting spirit should benefit the whole team and allow everyone to achieve their goals.”

The news was made official by Cyril Abiteboul Managing Director, Renault Sport Racing: “The signing of Fernando Alonso is part of Groupe Renault 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.”

…Alongside Esteban, his mission will be to help Renault DP World F1 Team prepare for the 2022 season in the best possible conditions,” he added.

After two seasons away from the pinnacle of motorsport, the two-time F1 world champion (2005-2006) Fernando Alonso joins the Enstone team with a multi-year contract, his motivation to what the future may bring excels.

Renault is my family, my fondest memories in Formula One with my two World Championship titles, but I am now looking ahead. Its a great source of pride and with an immense emotion I am 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,” highlighted Alonso.

Both team and driver make clear their main goal is towards the 2022 season when the introduction of the new technical regulations will come into effect.

The team wants and has the means to get back on the podium, as do I”, the Spanish driver concluded.

Sports Pundit caught up with Thiago Alves, an experienced motorsport commentator and narrator for FOX Sports Brazil tv channels, to talk about the decision taken by the Renault F1 team to sign a veteran driver over young talent.

Alves points out two reasons why in his opinion, Renault did not make a good deal.

Fernando’s patience when things do not go his way tends to make him take his frustrations publicly, which creates a toxic environment within the team.

One can tell by the atmosphere there is at McLaren today, clinching results and podiums,” the Brazilian explains.

Another factor is Renault’s young drivers program, which once again will not have a representative in F1.I believe Guan Yu Zhou [a member of the Renault Sport Academy] has a good chance of being among the top in the current Formula 2 season.

Nevertheless, due to his relationship with the French automaker, he may not be able to land a seat in F1 [next season],” Alves concludes.

2018 ALONSO QUITS F1 NOT THE SPORT

By the end of the 2018 Formula One season, Alonso left McLaren, but he has never stayed away from the sport, continuously challenging himself, competing in different racing series.

Among his achievements after his F1 campaign is the 2018/19 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC), he won alongside Sebastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima, behind the wheel of the [[Toyota 5050 hybrid #8 with the Toyota Gazoo Racing Team.

He also emerged victorious at the iconic Le Mans 24 Hours race in 2018 and 2019, as in the 24 hours of Daytona (2019) driving for Wayne Taylor Racing, sharing a Cadillac DPi-V.R with Kamui Kobayashi, Renger van der Zande, and Jordan Taylor.

Early in 2020, Alonso contested the Dakar Rally celebrated in Qatar, with Toyota Gazoo Racing, crossing the line 13th in his first attempt.

There’s no smoke without fire

FIA Formula One World Championship coming back last weekend after a seven-month-long delay - due to the coronavirus outbreak, seemed to be the biggest story around the pinnacle of motorsport in the year that marks its 70th anniversary. But since Sunday night, the clock started ticking around rumors of an official announcement to be made by Renault DP World F1 Team on Wednesday.

As the days went by, the rumors intensified and soon took shape and form in the name of Fernando Alonso.

Spanish reporter Noemi de Miguel first let slip a clue of the story when on Monday she wrote on Twitter: “I have been told Renault is going to make an official announcement on Wednesday.”

To which she added: “After the race [Austrian Grand Prix], Cyril Abiteboul has told mechanics - who have been with the company for more than 15 years - they have already worked with him [the driver to be announced].”

Formula One drivers market on fire - I show you mine, you show me yours

The moves in the F1 drivers market began last May, a chain reaction that started with Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari parting ways by the end of 2020, leaving a vacant seat within the Italian team.

The Scuderia didn’t take long to calm the agitated waters, announcing McLaren driver Carlos Sainz on a two-year deal, as a new teammate for Monegasque driver Charles Leclerc.

I am pleased to announce that Carlos will join Scuderia Ferrari as from the 2021 championship. With five seasons already behind him, Carlos has proved to be very talented and has shown that he has the technical ability and the right attributes to make him an ideal fit with our family,” said Mattia Binotto, Managing Director Gestione Sportiva and Team Principal, Scuderia Ferrari.

News also emerged on Daniel Ricciardo leaving Renault, “discussions held with Daniel Ricciardo concerning a renewal of his contract beyond the end of 2020 have not been successful,” the team expressed in a statement.

“In our sport, and particularly within the current extraordinary situation, reciprocated confidence, unity, and commitment are, more than ever, critical values for a works team. I am confident that the 2020 season will allow us to accomplish even more together. Our ambitions and the strategy of Renault DP World F1 Team remain unchanged”, said Abiteboul.

McLaren Racing then followed confirming Ricciardo had signed a multi-year agreement joining new teammate Britains Lando Norris from 2021.

Signing Daniel is another step forward in our long-term plan and will bring an exciting new dimension to the team, alongside Lando. This is good news for our team, partners, and of course our fans,” commented Zak Brown, CEO, McLaren Racing.

Now the enigma revolves around Sebastian Vettel future in Formula One.

Could the four-times F1 world champion retire at the end of the season? That is a question without an answer just yet.

As for Fernando Alonso, he is currently preparing for a third attempt at the Indy 500 - scheduled for August at the temple of motor racing, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, driving for the Arrow McLaren SP Team.

As for the future, Alonso will be 39 years old next year, but age seems to represent nothing but a number for the elite driver who has proven to be at the top of his game, talented, and competitive as his nature has always been.

Cecilia demartini
Sports Pundit staff writer @ceci_2812
Cecilia is a writer and a journalist passionate about sports, particularly motorsport, tennis, and soccer

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