Fernando Alonso, McLaren, Monza, 2019

Alonso sees 2021 as year of preparation before new rules arrive

2021 F1 season

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Fernando Alonso will return to Formula 1 next year, but says his first season back in the sport will be one of preparation for the arrival of new rules in 2022.

The two-times world champion will make his comeback with Renault, who he spent six seasons racing for between 2003 and 2008, winning his championship titles.

“It’s an extremely happy day for me,” he told media via a teleconference on Wednesday, “coming back to to F1 first, but also to the team that I had the best experience in the category. So I’m happy for this.

“I know a lot of people in Renault. I know many of the engineers, the mechanics. I know their passion. I know how hungry of success they still are.”

Formula 1 originally planned to introduced an extensive overhaul of its technical regulations in 2021, which have been delayed to 2022. Alonso believes these may offer an opportunity for teams such as Renault to challenge the established front runners.

Fernando Alonso, McLaren, Bahrain International Circuit
Alonso’s last F1 outing was with McLaren last year
“I think with the new rules in 2022 there is that chance of having a championship a little bit more equal in between the teams and more fair between the teams,” he said.

“These rules, they’ve been delayed one season. Probably my first intention was to go out of F1 at the end of 2018 and see how life was outside the bubble of Formula 1 and a have a think for the 2021 rules. This has been postponed one year because of the Covid.

“But there’s still I think worth to be in the sport in 2021 as preparation for me after two years not driving these cars and preparation and build-up with the team as well to have a good season. So as I said I cannot be more happy and it’s a very important day for me.”

Alonso doubts world champions Mercedes will face much competition until the new rules arrive. “I’m aware of things and I’ve not been underground for two years,” he said. “I’ve been watching television and I know that only one team will win in 2020 and will win in 2021, probably.

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“I think the 2022 rules will hopefully bring some fairness to the sport and will bring some close action as well with the teams more level and less scope to invent anything that has a large performance advantage,” he added. “So having that in mind, there is enough time I think to work on those projects and to build the momentum that I think we need.

Fernando Alonso, McLaren, IndyCar, Indianapolis, 2019
Alonso will return to Indianapolis later this year
“Hopefully from today we will see some more motivation, some boost from everybody. And I’m happy, I’m relaxed I’m aware of what the 2021 will be and I’m hopeful through 2022. This is a matter of building something together that you trust, that has the capabilities, has the facilities, has the investment and all those ingredients I found in Renault.”

Following a busy 2018, which involved F1 and WEC competition, Alonso had a quieter 2019. He participated in the Dakar Rally at the beginning of 2020 before worldwide lockdowns due to the pandemic began. Since then he has worked on his fitness for his return to racing, and is scheduled to participate in the postponed Indianapolis 500 in August.

“Between all the endurance races, between IMSA, between WEC, between Dakar preparation, I’ve been behind a steering wheel nearly every week of the year. So I feel ready and I feel that I am a hundred percent in terms of driving.

“Physically as well I have to rebuild my body and I have to start a very specific fitness preparation I think to start it in February. So now I’m 100 percent. We did a couple of fitness tests 15 days ago and I had the best results ever in my career. So I’m extremely motivated, happy and stronger than ever.”

Alonso is older than every driver on the current grid bar Kimi Raikkonen and will turn 40 next year. However he is certain that will have no effect on his performance.

“As I saw Formula 1 for many years time is the only thing that matters. Not the age. I never had a classification on the race based on the passport date of birth. Always on the [stopwatch]. So hopefully we’re still fast or faster than them.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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18 comments on “Alonso sees 2021 as year of preparation before new rules arrive”

  1. I fail to see the point of this comeback. He will be almost 40 by the time the 2021 season starts. And his plan is to wait for the new rules in 2022 hoping they might have a competitive car? ideally, Alonso would need a car to win now, today, not making plans for an uncertain future. He doesn’t have that much time. These cars are physical and we all see the effects of age on F1 drivers, unfortunately.

    Take Schumi on Mercedes or Kimi 2020. I hope I’m wrong but I believe he is way past his prime, it is just a reality of life. The same way CR7 is now past his prime. Different sports, but there’s no escaping from time.

    He might have some years ahead of him in less demanding cars, such as Indy or whatever, but F1 is brutal. He will struggle.

    1. I don’t think you know what you’re talking about.

    2. He gets to drive a F1 car for the next few years. Travel (most) of the world. Get paid to do it. I could rattle on a million other things why anyone, if offered would come back.

  2. Mclaren Honda 2.0

  3. ColdFly (@)
    8th July 2020, 16:41

    The two-times world champion will make his comeback with Renault, who he spent six seasons racing for between 2003 and 2008, winning his championship titles.

    That should be between 2003 and 2009, as he had a gap year at McLaren in 2007.

    1. You must be fun at parties.

      1. ColdFly (@)
        8th July 2020, 18:17

        I must have offended you!
        I’m sorry for you.

      2. After that reply of yours, most people would prefer to hang out with @coldfly rather than you.

      3. @johnnik, perhaps learn some manners.

  4. Both parties are happy and that’s what matters. As ALO states, fitness level is great, his innate racecraft is most likely still on song and he judges himself by the stopwatch, not his age, which would be classified as ageism for anyone who thinks otherwise.

  5. DAllein (@)
    8th July 2020, 17:14

    Now I got it.
    Preparation for final retirement.

    Ok, good.

  6. A bit depressing that Alonso is happy that there will be less room for teams to innovate in car design come 2022, he is looking forward to a sort of spec series.
    But look on the bright side, car designers/engineers always manage to find some genius tweek that gives an advantage before its banned. To state the obvious F1 is not just about the drivers, more than half the fun is following the technical aspects of making a car go faster and stick to the road better. I am sure Alonso will entertain us in his usual way even if he does not win a race.

  7. Utterly ruthless, he’s going to be a good asset to the grid. Normally I hate the hangers on staying in F1 too long. But there’s something about a break and return I like. Go do something else and come back motivated, appreciative, and focused for success. Loved Shumi 2.0 and I’m sure it’ll be even better with Alonso.
    The only thing I worry about is Cyril.

    1. I agree with you there.. look what Cyril promised Riccardo and didn’t come thru. I really pray Alonso gets a competitive car that he can work his magic on.

  8. If almost seems like if Alonso doesn’t win in 2022, it’s not just him going away for good. It’s Cyril and the whole Renault F1 program…

  9. Alonso’s luck to have a virus outbreak delay his plans by a whole year..

  10. The overrated guy who won 2 WDC because FIA didn’t want Schumi to win 7 in a row is back.

    Glad to have him back, I missed hating him.

  11. I’m excited. I’m all aboard following F1, even with the prohibitive costs in the UK. Great “cast” of drivers of the new generation and old classics like Hamilton and now Alonso still around. To anyone saying Alonso is past his prime, he was still on top form when he left, and remember he could have been a 4 times world champion were he a touch luckier and Ferrari and touch less incompetent. Even if Alonso is past his prime that still makes him better than at least half the grid!

    Bring it on. Can’t wait to see the new cars in 22 and hopefully a bit of a shake up all around.

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