Fernando Alonso signs with Renault F1 team for 2021 season
Fernando Alonso will make his Formula 1 return for the Renault team next year, the French car manufacturer announced on Wednesday.
The Spaniard, who won his only world titles for Renault in 2005 and 2006, last raced in F1 at the end of 2018 when he decided that F1 was no longer an attractive option for him.
Alonso will take the place of Australian Daniel Ricciardo, who has signed to join McLaren as replacement for the Ferrari-bound Carlos Sainz.
Renault did not confirm the exact length of Alonso’s deal beyond saying that it is ‘for the upcoming seasons’. Alonso has talked about having high ambitions for the 2022 campaign, when F1 embarks on a new rules era.
His return to Renault will be his third spell at the team. He originally joined the outfit as a test driver in 2002, before being promoted to a race seat the following year.
He won his first grand prix for the team in Hungary in 2003 and was central to its most successful campaigns in 2005 and 2006.
Following his title successes, Alonso quit to join McLaren in 2007 but his relationship there turned sour and he returned to Renault for the 2008 and 2009 seasons.
Although he won races, including a controversial one at the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix when teammate Nelson Piquet Jr deliberately crashed, the team could not deliver the title he was after.
Alonso subsequently moved to Ferrari from 2010 to 2014, before making a return to McLaren from 2015.
But his switch to McLaren failed to produce the kind of results he hoped for as he endured two difficult years with Honda-power prior to a final frustrating campaign with Renault engines as McLaren’s car did not live up to expectations.
By the end of 2018, Alonso had grown tired of the demands of F1 and a lack of results, but his time away from it since then has given him new motivation to have one last assault.
His long-time manager Flavio Briatore said earlier this year that Alonso had been ‘detoxed’ by being away from F1 for a while.
Since leaving F1, Alonso has won the FIA World Endurance Championship for Toyota – including back-to-back victories at the Le Mans 24 Hours – and earlier this year competed in the Dakar Rally.for the Japanese manufacturer
He has also tried to win the Indianapolis 500 race, but failed to qualify last year although is having another attempt later this season.
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