Renault is expected to announce Fernando Alonso’s return to the team tomorrow, Racer reports:
Fernando Alonso is set to return to Formula 1 in 2021 with Renault, with an announcement due as early as this week.
RACER understands an announcement confirming Alonso’s return to his former team alongside Esteban Ocon is currently scheduled to be made on Wednesday ahead of the second race of the F1 season in Austria.
Alonso fills the seat left by Daniel Ricciardo, after he left to go to McLaren for the 2021 season. If the report is accurate, Alonso joins driver Esteban Ocon, who just made his own racing debut for the Renault team at last weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix.
In 2018, Alonso announced he was quitting Formula 1 after 17 years. He first joined Renault in 2003, and went on to win the driver’s championship back-to-back in 2005 and 2006. He also already won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2018, and went for Indycar but failed, though he plans to try again in an effort to finally at least finish the race.
Back in January, Alonso was also busy racing in the top class of the Dakar Rally in a Toyota Hilux. Maybe he left F1 to get some varied experience, and it’s the knowledge of exploding your wheel on a hole in the Dakar that will propel Renault to newfound victory with Alonso in the seat.
As for the Renault team he’s joining, well, it’s surely not the winning 2005-2006 setup anymore. Instead, the French are currently consistently in the mid-field, racing behind Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull most of the time. However, Road & Track reports the new 2021 F1 budget cap, and more regulations coming in 2022 could be a good sign for the team to potentially close the gap in the next few years.