Fernando Alonso is to bring about a renaissance for Renault F1, which certainly is the Formula 1 team’s hope.
The Spanish veteran celebrates a sensational comeback with his former world champion team. The Formula 1 return is a risk for the French outfit – and also affects the future of Sebastian Vettel.
More than 19 months after his retirement from the pinnacle of motorsport, the Spanish veteran announces his spectacular comeback and robs Sebastian Vettel of perhaps the last option to continue his Formula 1 career.
The desperate Renault racing team is taking an unpredictable risk by signing the feisty Alonso from 2021. The Spaniard himself is still hoping for his third World Championship title.
“Renault is my family and represents my favourite memories in Formula 1 with my two world championship titles, but I’m now looking ahead,” Alonso explained on Wednesday to the Spanish press.
The Asturian, who will be 39 years old at the end of July, will receive a contract with Renault “for the coming seasons” according to the Spanish newspaper Marca. In the morning he underlaid an Instagram story with the music of the Hollywood film “Back to the Future”.
Alonso went on to say: “I’ll share my racing experience with everyone, from the engineers to the mechanics to my teammate.” Renault’s goal is “to get back on the podium, and I want to do that.”
“His experience and determination will allow us to get the best out of each of us,” said Renault team boss Cyril Abiteboul, who is finally ready to return to past glories.
In 2005 and 2006, exceptional driver Alonso had crowned himself World Champion with the team from France. Now he should “also bring a culture of racing and winning to the team, so that together we can overcome hurdles,” said Abiteboul.
Renault has been fighting to catch up with Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull since its return as a factory team in 2016. However, instead of attacking the big three in 2019, the French even slipped back to fifth position behind McLaren in the constructors’ championship. Far too little for the racing team from Viry-Chatillon.
Alonso replaces the Australian Daniel Ricciardo who, after two years, takes flight to McLaren. Frenchman Esteban Ocon will learn from the Spaniard as the second regular driver. Alonso himself should not have too many problems with the changeover, after all he is still familiar with the current generation of cars.
The rule evolution was postponed to 2022 because of the Corona crisis. Alonso should also give Ocon an insight into team politics.
Over the years, Alonso has distinguished himself by his passionate gripes and grumbling. Either Formula 1 developed in the wrong direction according to his feelings or his car was too slow for his demands.
During his one-year interlude at McLaren in 2007, Alonso even led the long-established British team to the brink of collapse. At that time he got into a fight with his team rival Lewis Hamilton and provided the Fia with insider information in an espionage affair. McLaren was fined $100 million for possessing secret Ferrari data and the informer fled to Renault.
The man from Oviedo has never made a secret of his possible return to the pinnacle of Formula 1 racing, even after his actual retirement from McLaren at the end of 2018.
Since then, however, the 32-time Grand Prix winner has been primarily occupied with making his dream of the so-called Triple Crown come true. Alonso has long had successes in the Formula 1 race in Monaco and the endurance classic at Le Mans, the only thing missing is his triumph in the Indy 500. In August he wants to make his next attempt in the USA in a McLaren.
Alonso’s return snatches a potential cockpit from Vettel for 2021 – if the four-time world champion wants to continue his career at all.
Following six years, the German must leave Ferrari at the end of this season. “When you make the decision to close the door, you have to be ready to let it close yourself,” Vettel last said on Servus TV. Alonso had never quite closed the door to Formula One for himself.