While Renault slipped behind customers McLaren in the constructors’ standings last season , team principal Cyril Abiteboul believes that Alonso’s return to Renault could propel the team forward next season.
“The signing of Fernando Alonso is part of Groupe Renault’s plan to continue its commitment to F1 and to return to the top of the field. His presence in our team is a formidable asset on the sporting level but also for the brand to which he is very attached,” he said.
“The strength of the bond between him, the team and the fans make him a natural choice. 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.
“He will also bring to our team, which has grown very fast, a culture of racing and winning to overcome hurdles together. Alongside Esteban, his mission will be to help Renault DP World F1 Team prepare for the 2022 season in the best possible conditions.”
Earlier this year Alonso teased fans with a cryptic social media post in response to Renault’s own hint at the move, and reiterated his interest last year in returning to F1 should the right opportunity arise.
According to Spanish media, Abiteboul reportedly told senior engineers that the decision to sign a driver they had previously worked with had been made.
The Spaniard won both of his world titles with Renault back in 2005 and 2006, overcoming Ferrari and Michael Schumacher in back-to-back seasons but was never able to add to his tally.
A year with McLaren was followed up with a further Renault stint, five fruitless years at Ferrari and then a miserable return to McLaren.
The team was stuck near the rear of the field following underperformances with its own designs and with an unreliable and underpowered Honda power unit.
Alonso last sampled a Formula 1 car in 2019 at the post-race test in Bahrain with McLaren.
Before returning to grand prix racing, he will make a further attempt to win the Indy 500 in September with Arrow McLaren SP.