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Fernando Alonso is set to return to Formula 1 with Renault next year.

The Spanish two-time world champion, who will be 39 later this month, has signed and will be confirmed soon, sources have told BBC Sport.

Alonso will return to the outfit with whom he won his World Championships, and for whom he has already driven twice during his career.

He left F1 in 2018 and is due to make a third attempt to win the Indianapolis 500 with McLaren in August.

A spokesperson for Renault said the team “declined to comment on rumours”.

Alonso will partner Frenchman Esteban Ocon and replace Australian Daniel Ricciardo, who is moving to McLaren at the end of this season.

Why is he coming back?

When he left the sport, Alonso said he was doing so because he had “achieved in F1 more than I dreamed of and it’s time to achieve bigger things outside F1”.

But Alonso is known to have been in talks with Renault since November last year, and in May this year his adviser, Flavio Briatore, said he was “motivated and ready to return to F1”.

Insiders say they believe his time away from F1 has reminded him that no other motorsport comes close to the level of satisfaction possible at its pinnacle.

But Alonso will have to accept he is unlikely to be competitive straight away. Next year, teams will have to use the same cars as in 2020 as a result of a rule change introduced because of the coronavirus crisis, and the Renault was a midfield car at the season-opening race in Austria at the weekend.

Alonso will hope the new technical rules being introduced in 2022 in an attempt to close up the field, as well as a budget cap on teams, will enable Renault to compete close to the front.

More to follow.


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