Madrid, July 8 (IANS) Spanish motorsports great Fernando Alonso is set to make a comeback to Formula 1 after retiring from the sport in 2018. Alonso will be returning to Renault, with whom he had won both of his world championship titles, partnering Esteban Ocon for the 2021 season.
This will make the 38-year-old the first Formula 1 driver to have three stints with the same team.
“Renault is my family, and my fondest memories in Formula 1 are with it with my two world championship titles, but I'm now looking ahead,” said Alonso in a statement.
“It's a great source of pride and with an immense emotion I'm returning to the team that gave me chance at the start of my career and which now gives me the opportunity to return to the highest level.
“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 and I will share all my racing experience with everyone from the engineers to the mechanics and my teammates. The team wants and has the means to get back on the podium, as do I.”
In a storied career which also included stints at McLaren and Ferrari, Alonso has not only won two world championships, but has also finished runner-up three times.
His 32 victories place him sixth on the all-time list, and he's also sixth all-time in podium finishes with 97. Meanwhile, with 311 starts, only Rubens Barrichello (322) and Kimi Raikkonen (313) have been involved in more Grand Prix races than Alonso.
Since leaving Formula 1 at the end of 2018, Alonso has won the Le Mans 24 Hours for a second time, won the WEC world championship, failed to qualify for the Indy 500 and finished 13th in the famous Dakar Rally.
“It's great news that two-time world champion Fernando Alonso will return to Formula 1 with Renault next year,” said Formula 1 CEO Chase Carey, adding: “He is an incredible talent and we can't wait to have him back on the grid in 2021.”