Spanish driver Fernando Alonso (Toyota TS050 Hybrid LMP1) atends a press conference on June 14, 2019 at Le Mans northwestern France, prior to the 87th edition of the 24 Hours Le Mans endurance race which will take place from June 15 to 16, 2019. (Photo by
Fernando Alonso has signed a deal to return to Formula One with Renault in 2021, according to reports.
Last month, Renault boss Cyril Abiteboul admitted he is considering bringing Alonso out of retirement to sensationally replace the outgoing Daniel Ricciardo.
Two-time champion Alonso retired from Formula One in 2018, but the 39-year-old, who has tried and failed to set up his own cycling team, is in the running to take the vacant seat in the Renault team for next season, with Ricciardo heading to McClaren.
Fernando Alonso flips car on dunes, forces windscreen removal
And the BBC reported on Tuesday that Alonso has signed a deal to return with Renault and will be confirmed soon. Marca say he will be paid between 10 and 12 million euros a year.
The Spaniard spent two spells at Renault, winning back-to-back world titles in 2005 and 2006, and since leaving has won the Le Mans 24 Hours, as well as competing in the Dakar Rally and Indianapolis 500.
He also won 32 grands prix with Renault, putting him sixth on the all-time list.
"There can be many drivers, there are great drivers who are free next year," Abiteboul told Radio Montecarlo.
The one you have mentioned [Alonso] is an option. Although there are others.
'The only thing I am saying is that we are going to take time to reflect. It is an extremely important decision and we do not want to enter the dynamic of Ferrari or McLaren, who will have their reasons for doing so [announcing 2021 line-up early]. Honestly, deciding on a driver in a season that has not yet started ... seems a bit strange to us. Choosing the driver is the last piece of the puzzle in the reconstruction, hence the importance of taking our time and doing things well."
Alonso's former Ferrari boss Stefano Domenicali also gave his backing to Alonso lining up alongside Esteban Ocon for Renault next season, insisting the sport would be the real winner.
"We have already fantastic young drivers... but Fernando would give another level," Domenicali, now chief executive of Lamborghini, told Reuters. "He would be for sure very strong. Of course he can be stronger with a good car, with a very fast car, but Fernando would be an asset for Formula One if he would come back."