Fernando Alonso announces stunning return to Formula 1 with Renault in 2021

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Double world champion Fernando Alonso will make a surprise return to Formula 1 with Renault next season, the French manufacturer has confirmed.

"Renault DP World F1 Team is pleased to confirm Fernando Alonso alongside Esteban Ocon in its driver line-up for the 2021 season", Renault said in a statement.

Alonso left F1 at the end of the 2018 after a poor run at McLaren. He won the Driver's World Championship titles in 2005 and 2006 in a Renault F1 vehicle.

Alonso won both of his world titles with Renault way back in 2005 and '06, but still looked sharp driving an uncompetitive vehicle during his last season with McLaren in 2018 before walking away.

Unveiled as the replacement to Daniel Ricciardo at Renault on Wednesday, Alonso will now switch focus back to the Indy 500. In addition to past successes, it is a bold mutual choice as well as a project for the future.

"His experience and determination will enable us to get the best out of each other to take the team towards the excellence that modern Formula 1 demands". "It's a great source of pride and with an huge emotion I'm returning to the team that gave me my chance at the start of my career and which now gives me the opportunity to return to the highest level". Next year, teams will have to use the same cars as in 2020 as a result of a rule change introduced because of the coronavirus crisis, and the Renault was a midfield auto at the season-opening race in Austria at the weekend. While he was away, he won the Le Mans 24 Hours twice with Toyota. The team is expected to tap Alonso's decades of experience for development of a radically new F1 auto to be introduced for the 2022 season.

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"I have principles and ambitions in line with the team's project".

Since leaving F1, Alonso has become a two-time victor of the Le Mans 24 Hours, adding victory in 2019 to his first win in 2018, and also competed in the Dakar Rally.

He also contested the Dakar Rally in January, and will be making his third attempt at the Indianapolis 500 later this year.

Alonso is sixth all-time for wins but his last was at the Spanish GP seven years ago with Ferrari.

McLaren struggled badly after switching to a Honda engine, and he failed to secure a podium finish in four seasons.

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