Alonso to replace Ricciardo at Renault

Former world champion Fernando Alonso will reportedly return to Formula One next year, after signing with Renault to replace Daniel Ricciardo.

According to the BBC, the deal is done and Alonso will be back with the team where he won the 2005 and 2006 championships.

Ricciardo has already confirmed a deal with McLaren for next year.

Alonso last raced in Formula One in 2018, and turns 39 later this month.

Fernando Alonso (AAP)

He has spent the last two seasons driving in various categories, twice winning the Le Mans 24 Hours. He has made no secret of his desire to become just the second driver in history to win the sport’s ‘Triple Crown’ which consists of the Monaco Grand Prix, Le Mans and Indy 500.

He will drive for McLaren in this year’s race at Indianapolis, which has been rescheduled for August.

“Fernando Alonso picks a car up and carries it, and so is very exciting to watch,” leading commentator Martin Brundle told Sky Sports.

“He does turn 39 on the 29th of this month and we’ve got a lot of young kids in there at the moment in their early 20s getting the job done.

“We thought there was a changing of the guard, and we were losing the older drivers.”

Brundle was cautious about Alonso’s ability to run at the front of the field, given Renault has struggled in recent years.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, teams will use their 2020 cars in 2021, consigning Alonso and Renault to a season in the midfield.

Daniel Ricciardo is leaving Renault for McLaren (AAP)

“He will certainly drive the wheels off it, but whether the car is fast enough and whether he’s still got the pace to match the youngsters now remains to be seen. But I suspect he’ll have the pace.

“Fernando is pretty hot to handle, he’s a tough cookie to have around, but I think he’ll come back highly motivated and it’s going to be fascinating. Where does he stand up against the likes of Verstappen and Leclerc if, indeed, he’s got a car to go up against them?

“It’s good news that Renault are looking forward because we’re concerned about any teams that might be thinking about leaving Formula 1. So that’s very good news.”

Alonso’s deal closes another door for Sebastian Vettel, who is without a drive after being dumped by Ferrari.

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