Fernando Alonso insists age will not be a factor when he makes his Formula One return in 2021.
The double world champion’s comeback was confirmed on Wednesday by Renault.
Alonso, who won back-to-back championships with the French team in 2005 and 2006, will celebrate his 39th birthday later this month.
The spaniard stepped away from F1 at the end of 2018 following a difficult four-year spell at McLaren without a victory or a podium.
He came close to winning championships with Ferrari in 2010 and 2012 but suffered agonizing near-misses at the final race of either campaign.
“Stopwatch is the only thing that matters, not age”Fernando Alonso
The last of his 32 wins came at the 2013 European Grand Prix with Ferrari. The Spaniard is widely regarded as one of the best drivers of the modern era.
The Spaniard made his most recent grand prix start with McLaren in 2018, will turn 40 in July of 2021. He will contest this year’s Indy 500 with the Arrow McLaren SP team.
Speaking after his unveiling, the Spaniard said: “For many years in Formula One, the stopwatch is the only thing that matters, not age. “I never had a race classification based on the passport, date of birth – always on the stopwatch.”
Return of Fernando Alonso a boost for Renault
Alonso will also be reunited with current Renault technical director Pat Fry, with whom he worked at both McLaren and Ferrari.
“We need a quick driver, and we need a driver that can understand and buy into Renault’s project,” he said.
“We are very clear about the nature of our team. We are a bit of a unique team in the F1 landscape, but at the same time also a young team, still in the making, with some struggles – in particular last year.
The signing of the two-time world champion will act as an important boost for Renault’s F1 project after seven-time race winner and current team leader Ricciardo in May opted to switch to rivals McLaren for next season.
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“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.
“Fernando Alonso picks a car up and carries it, and so is very exciting to watch.
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.
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.”