Fernando Alonso’s return to Formula One confirmed

Fernando Alonso will return to Formula One in 2021 after Renault confirmed the double world champion’s signature.

Alonso, who turns 39 later this month, has been out of the sport since he appeared to bring down the curtain on his career with McLaren 18 months ago.

But the Spaniard, who won successive championships with Renault in 2005 and 2006, has now completed a sensational comeback with the French manufacturer.

Alonso replaces Daniel Ricciardo, who is moving to McLaren at the end of the year. Australian Ricciardo is taking over from Carlos Sainz ahead of his switch to Ferrari.

Alonso has competed in 311 grands prix, winning 32 of them. He starred for Renault in the early years, before quitting McLaren after one season following a turbulent campaign alongside the then-rookie Lewis Hamilton.

He returned to Renault before a four-year period at Ferrari where he came close to winning the title on two occasions. After falling out with the Italian team, he went back to McLaren, but the switch proved desperately unsuccessful.

Alonso quit the sport after four seasons with McLaren, setting his sights on becoming only the second driver since Britain’s Graham Hill to complete the so-called Triple Crown – winning the Monaco Grand Prix, Le Mans 24 Hours and Indy 500.

Although he won the famous sportscar endurance race in 2018 and 2019 he has not been able to crack the Indy 500, despite a remarkable effort on his first appearance back in 2017.

Renault are struggling in the sport, but Alonso will be hoping that an overhaul in the regulations and the introduction of a £115m-a-season budget cap in 2022 will fire them back up the grid. He will partner the Frenchman Esteban Ocon.

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