Alpine have announced that Fernando Alonso will continue to race with the team in 2022, with boss Laurent Rossi saying they have been impressed with the Spaniard’s “dedication, teamwork and focus” since he returned to Formula 1 this season.
Alonso, who turned 40 in July, left F1 at the end of 2018 after four frustrating seasons with McLaren and spent two years racing in other categories, including the Dakar Rally and at Le Mans.
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He was tempted back to Grand Prix racing this year with Alpine – his third spell at the team previously known as Renault, where he won both his World Championship titles in 2005 and 2006.
He is currently on a six-race scoring streak with a season-best finish of fourth at the Hungarian Grand Prix, when his defence of a charging Lewis Hamilton in the latter stages helped his team mate Esteban Ocon secure his, and Alpine’s, maiden victory.
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Ocon signed a new long term contract earlier this year, and Alpine say their “dynamic driver pairing offers a balance of youth and experience” as they prepare for a new era of F1 when sweeping new regulations are introduced next year.
Alonso said: “I’m very happy to confirm the contract extension with Alpine F1 Team into 2022. I felt at home the moment I returned to this team and have been welcomed back with open arms.
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“It is a pleasure to work again with some of the brightest minds in our sport at Enstone and Viry-Chatillon. It’s been a tricky season for everyone, but we’ve shown progress as a team and the result in Hungary serves as a good example of this progression.
“We’re targeting more positive memories for the rest of this season but also crucially from next year onwards with the new regulation changes coming into Formula 1. I have been a big supporter of the need for a level playing field and change in the sport and the 2022 season will be a great opportunity for that. I am looking forward to the rest of this year and racing alongside Esteban in 2022 for Alpine.”
Alpine CEO Laurent Rossi added: “We are very pleased to confirm Fernando for next season, partnering with Esteban. For us it is a perfect driver line-up, amongst the strongest on the grid. It works in a hugely complementary way, with both offering raw talent and speed, yet impeccable team spirit that delivered our first win in Hungary.
“Fernando has impressed us all since he returned to the sport at the beginning of this year. His dedication, teamwork and focus to extract the maximum from the team is incredible to be a part of and certainly special to witness. His performance in Hungary was another example of his racing pedigree and reminded everyone how skilled a driver he is.
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“I am convinced we can benefit strongly from Fernando’s insight and experience as we enter the final development and optimization phase of the 2022 chassis and power unit. He is just as hungry as we are for success and is putting in every effort to translate it to performance.
“For now, however, we need to focus on delivering a strong second half of the year, extract the maximum at every race and ensure we finish as high up in the constructors’ standings as possible. This will put us in a golden position for next year and the significant opportunity it brings.”