Alonso eyes comeback
Two-time world champion Fernando Alonso is set to return to Formula One with Renault in 2021. Alonso, who left the sport at the end of 2018 after a final season with McLaren, won his championship titles with Renault in 2005 and 2006. The Spaniard, 38, has made no secret of his desire to return to the Formula One grid.
Fernando Alonso is poised to return to Formula One with Renault in 2021. It is understood that confirmation of the double world champion’s comeback could be confirmed as early as today.
Alonso, who turns 39 this month, has been out of the sport since appearing to bring down the curtain on his career with McLaren in 2018. But the Spaniard, who won successive championships with Renault in 2005 and 2006, appears ready to return to the grid with the French manufacturer.
Alonso is primed to replace Daniel Ricciardo, who is moving to McLaren at the end of the year. 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 twice came close to winning the title. After falling out with the team, he went back to McLaren, but the switch proved 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 “Triple Crown” – winning the Monaco Grand Prix, Le Mans 24 Hours and Indy 500.
Although he won the famous sports car endurance race in 2018 and 2019, he has not been able to crack the Indy 500.
Renault are struggling, but Alonso will be hoping that an overhaul in the regulations and the introduction of a £115million-a-season budget cap in 2022 will fire them back up the grid. He will partner the Frenchman Esteban Ocon.
Meanwhile, Ferrari intend to bring forward planned upgrades to their car following a disappointing performance at the season-opening Austrian Grand Prix.
Charles Leclerc finished Sunday’s race second, but Louis Camilleri, the team chief executive, admitted the SF1000 car “didn’t measure up” and has called for improvements “on all fronts”.
Ahead of this weekend’s Styrian Grand Prix, Ferrari hope to introduce additional parts that were originally scheduled to be used at the subsequent race in Hungary.
“It’s clear that we have to improve on all fronts. The only solution is to react,” Camilleri said in a statement on the Ferrari website.
“We are at the start of a new cycle with a long-term plan. Any setbacks will certainly not change our chosen course and I have every confidence in Mattia [Binotto, team principal] and the team in addressing our shortcomings.”
Leclerc’s team-mate, four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel, finished the Spielberg race down in 10th position.
Ferrari’s major issue was a lack of speed on the straights, with the car losing 0.7 seconds a lap to rivals Mercedes.
Double champion: Fernando Alonso won world titles with Renault in 2005 and 2006