Alonso rejects age, motivation concerns, focused on 2022 charge with Renault

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Fernando Alonso insists he is ready and motivated to return to Formula 1 with Renault from next season.

After two days of increased speculation that he had agreed to reunite with the team where he won his two world titles in 2005 and 2006, the Spaniard and Renault finally made it official on Wednesday, confirming he had signed a two-year deal at the Enstone-based squad.

Alonso will take the seat that's been vacated by Daniel Ricciardo at the end of this season, as the Australian heads to McLaren, and he revealed initial talks on what will be his third stint with the French manufacturer in F1 began as far back as November.

“We took our time,” he said. “We respect each other. The first meeting was Abu Dhabi last year, to be honest. I was at the race in 2019 and we sat down and talked for the possibility, what can be the impressions of both parties.

“We remained in contact all these months and at the end, when I finally made the decision of coming back to Formula 1, Renault was always a romantic choice.

“We didn't lose the relationship with the Renault Academy, I have a Formula Renault team in Spain with the karting schools we do a lot of things with Renault Spain. 

“[There] has always been this link. We felt it was the right thing to do.”

Of course, Alonso's return does come with some questions, the most obvious being whether, at 39 years old, he still has what it takes to compete with the best.

"I saw Formula 1 for many years, the stopwatch is the only thing that matters, not the age," he replied.

"I never have the classification in the race based on the passport, date of birth, always by the stopwatch, so hopefully I am still fast, or faster than them.

"I feel ready and I feel that I am 100 per cent in terms of driving.

"Physically as well, I have to prebuild my body. I have to start very specific fitness preparation. We started in February, so now I'm 100 per cent."

Having left F1 at the end of 2018 due to becoming frustrated with competing in the midfield at McLaren, many also wonder why Alonso would want to return to the very same situation at Renault.

However, Fernando believes a likely less competitive year in 2021 can simply act as preparation for the better opportunity that awaits in 2022.

"My first intention was to go out of F1 [after] 2018, see how life was outside the bubble of Formula 1, and have a think for the 2021 rules," he said.

"This has been postponed one year because of Covid, but still, I think it’s worth being in the sport in 2021 as preparation for me, after two years of not driving these cars and preparation to build up with the team to have a good season [in 2022].

"I’m aware of things and I’ve not been underground for two years. I’ve been watching television and I know that only one team will win in 2020 and will win in 2021 probably," Alonso added.

"This is the case for the remaining 19 drivers that are on the grid, and we try to work with our own team and our own future, and as I said, I think the 2022 rules will bring hopefully some fairness to the sport and will bring some close action as well, with the teams more level.

"Having that in mind, there is enough time I think, to work on those projects and to build the momentum that we need."