Fernando Alonso will continue to race in Formula 1 with Alpine in 2022.
The two-time world champion signed a ‘one-plus-one’ contract to return to F1 with Alpine this season, and the French squad has taken up its option for a second year.
A continuation was expected as Alonso made his F1 comeback following a two-year hiatus competing in other series with an eye firmly on the upcoming 2022 regulation overhaul.
Alonso, who turned 40 in July, scored his best result of fourth place last time out at the Hungarian Grand Prix and sits 11th in the championship on 38 points, one point behind teammate Esteban Ocon.
Confirmation of Alonso’s extension means Alpine’s driver line-up for 2022 is now complete.
Ocon, who claimed a stunning maiden F1 victory in Hungary, was rewarded with a new long-term deal earlier this year amid an impressive start to the season.
“I’m very happy to confirm the contract extension with Alpine F1 Team into 2022,” said Alonso. “I felt at home the moment I returned to this team and have been welcomed back with open arms.
“It is a pleasure to work again with some of the brightest minds in our sport at Enstone and Viry-Châtillon. 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.
“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.”
The decision to continue with an unchanged line-up acts as a blow to Alpine’s leading juniors Oscar Piastri and Guanyu Zhou, who are first and second in the Formula 2 championship and looking to graduate to F1.
Alpine had originally targeted promoting one of its academy drivers to an F1 seat by 2021, but there will now be no opening at the Anglo-French outfit until at least 2023.
Alpine currently occupies fifth place in the 2021 F1 world championship, which resumes this weekend with the Belgian Grand Prix following a four-week summer shutdown.
News Source: Crash