It's official, Alonso returns to F1 with Renault for 2021

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Fernando Alonso will return to Formula 1 with Renault in 2021 after a two-year sabbatical, the team has confirmed.

Since Monday, speculation began to emerge that the Spaniard had agreed to join the French manufacturer for the third time in his career, after previous stints between 2003-2006 and 2008-09.

This was after Renault boss Cyril Abiteboul had reportedly informed team personnel in Austria of Alonso's pending arrival by saying those who have been at Enstone for 15 years had previously worked with their new 2021 driver.

Then yesterday, all the major news sites announced that yes, it was the double world champion making a big return and that it would be made official on Wednesday.

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Well, that has now happened with Alonso understood to have signed a two-year deal with Renault to replace the McLaren-bound Daniel Ricciardo.

The decision to sign Alonso is an interesting one with the Spaniard turning 39 later this month and having not driven an F1 car since testing for McLaren last year in Bahrain.

But given the opportunity to return to a company that has meant so much to his racing career, he simply couldn't say no.

“Renault is my family, my fondest memories in Formula One with my two World Championship titles, but I’m now looking ahead," he 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 teammates.

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

As for team boss Cyril Abiteboul, the signing of a man many consider one of the best racing drivers in the world today, is a major statement about Renault's intentions.

“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 the Frenchman. 

"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 [Ocon], his mission will be to help Renault DP World F1 Team prepare for the 2022 season in the best possible conditions.”