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Renault confirms Fernando Alonso will return to F1 next year

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Magnussen: Alonso return will be good for Ocon and Renault (0:56)

Kevin Magnussen reacts to the breaking news that Fernando Alonso will return to F1 in 2021 at Renault. (0:56)

Renault has confirmed Fernando Alonso is making a shock return to partner with Esteban Ocon at its Formula One team next year.

Alonso, 38, will replace Daniel Ricciardo, who signed a deal earlier this year to move to McLaren for 2021. Alonso's two-year deal will see him return to the team that he secured his two titles with in 2005 and 2006.

"Renault is my family, my fondest memories in Formula One with my two world championship titles, but I'm now looking ahead," Alonso said. "It's a great source of pride and with an immense emotion I'm returning to the team that gave me my chance at the start of my career and which now gives me the opportunity to return to the highest level.

"I have principles and ambitions in line with the team's project. Their progress this winter gives credibility to the objectives for the 2022 season and I will share all my racing experience with everyone from the engineers to the mechanics and my team-mates. The team wants and has the means to get back on the podium, as do I."

Renault team principal Cyril Abiteboul added: "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.

"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 One 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."

Alonso last raced in a grand prix at the end of the 2018 season and left F1 saying he had nothing more to achieve in the series. He has since raced in IndyCar, the World Endurance Championship and at the Dakar Rally, winning the WEC title with two victories at the famous Le Mans 24 Hours.

Alonso first left Renault for McLaren at the end of 2006, only to return in 2008 after falling out with McLaren boss Ron Dennis while paired with rookie Lewis Hamilton. Alonso joined Ferrari at the start of 2010 and came close to winning the title with the Italian team in his first year and again in 2012, suffering agonising near-misses at the final race of both campaigns.

The last of his 32 career wins came at the 2013 European Grand Prix with Ferrari before an unsuccessful switch to McLaren in 2015.

Alonso won the World Endurance Championship, the pinnacle of sports car racing, with Toyota. His stint with the team included the two victories at the Le Mans 24 Hours, in 2018 and 2019.

Alonso will contest the Indy 500 for the third time in his career in August. Winning it would make him the second driver, alongside Graham Hill, to claim motor racing's unofficial Triple Crown, which also includes the Le Mans 24 Hours and Monaco Grand Prix.