Tue | Aug 11, 2020

Alonso returns to F1 with Renault

Published:Wednesday | July 8, 2020 | 7:29 AM
Alonso
Alonso

SPIELBERG, Austria (AP):

Fernando Alonso will return to Formula One next season with the Renault team.

The French manufacturer said in a statement Wednesday that the 38-year-old Alonso will replace Daniel Ricciardo, who is joining McLaren next year.

"Fernando joins Renault for the upcoming seasons," Renault said. "This decision is both bold and meaningful for the future."

Renault, which struggled in F1 last season, did not say how many seasons Alonso has signed for. He won both of his world titles with Renault in 2005 and '06. He quit McLaren and F1 at the end of 2018 to focus on winning motorsport's triple crown.

Having already won the Monaco Grand Prix, he then won the 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race but not the Indianapolis 500.

Alonso won 32 F1 races and is widely considered one of the most talented drivers of his era alongside six-time F1 champion Lewis Hamilton.

"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," Alonso said. "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."

Alonso will race alongside 23-year-old French driver Esteban Ocon.

"His presence in our team is a formidable asset on the sporting level," Renault managing director Cyril Abiteboul said. "His experience and determination will enable us to get the best out of each other."

Alonso is the third-youngest world champion at 24 years, 59 days and fourth-youngest to win an F1 race at 22 years, 26 days.

He showed remarkable consistency when finishing on the podium in the first nine races of the 2006 campaign, and has been on the podium 97 times in F1.

"He is an incredible talent and we can't wait to have him back on the grid," F1 chairman Chase Carey said.

Alonso is sixth all-time for wins but his last was at the Spanish GP seven years ago with Ferrari. He finished runner-up in the title race three times with the famed Italian manufacturer before joining McLaren in 2015.

McLaren struggled badly after switching to a Honda engine, and he failed to secure a podium finish in four seasons.