Fernando Alonso is set to return to the starting grid in just two weeks time, two years after he entered his supposed last Grand Prix at the Yas Marina Circuit in for the finale of the 2018 season.
Alonso’s return has been eagerly anticipated since he was announced to drive for the newly branded Alpine Team for 2021. The Spaniard enjoyed former success with the Enstone based team – then named Renault, in which he won his two world championships in 2005 and 2006.
Alpine launched their challenger for the 2021 Formula 1 season on Tuesday, (2 March) as they prepare to launch an attack for the profitable third placed position in the Constructors’ Championship, a place they lucked out of in the 2020 campaign. But with Fernando Alonso joining the squad with a wealth of experience in the sport behind him, this only further enhances the arsenal for the team.
Alonso is highly regarded in the F1 paddock, having started 311 Grand Prix enjoying the success of two World Championships, 32 Grand Prix victories and 97 podiums in his career so far.
The Spaniard will partner Esteban Ocon in 2021 and praised the Frenchman’s maiden career podium at the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix, “I am excited to race alongside Esteban this year, I raced against him briefly in 2018. He had a good season last year and obviously it ended on a high note with his first podium at the Sakhir Grand Prix, I was there with the team at that race, and it was special to see the whole team celebrating. I think together we are both extremely motivated and can form a strong partnership to help push the team to reaching it’s goals.”
It was announced in the September of 2020 that the team would be rebranded as Alpine from Renault DP World Team for 2021, when Alonso was asked about the forthcoming season and the new Alpine Branding, he commented “I have kept constant communication with Enstone and Viry. There is a buzz in both factories and we’re eagerly looking forward to seeing the car on track this season.”
When asked about the goals he aims to achieve with Alpine F1 Team, the Spaniard went on to say “We want to have a strong year obviously and build on what the team did last year and obviously build on what the team did last year. There were a lot of positives to take from 2020 and the team were very close to finishing third in an extremely competitive championship.
“The three podiums were of course a big step from previous years, but we need to build on this momentum and do even better this year. It’s still very important to have a strong year in 2021 despite next season’s radical rule changes, which all teams have one eye on already”.
Alpine have a wealth of experience added to the team to tackle to 2021 campaign, in the form of Alonso and also newly appointed racing director Davide Brivio. adding to the aim of taking home spoils for a third place Constructors’ finish.
Alonso will be on tracks shortly in his new Alpine A521 machine for Formula One testing at Bahrain from the 12-14 March.