Fernando Alonso’s place with Alpine for 2022 has been officially confirmed, with the team retaining their same driver line-up.
Not that it was ever in any doubt but the Spaniard has now signed a contract extension, Alpine saying “Fernando’s excellent teamwork, unparalleled experience and race craft will be strong foundations” for their “continued progress.”
The two-time former World Champion returned this season from two years out of Formula 1, joining Esteban Ocon in Alpine’s driver line-up.
After admitting himself he needed several races to get back up to speed, Alonso, who turned 40 near the end of July, produced a vintage performance at the latest race, the Hungarian Grand Prix, which helped Ocon to a shock victory.
Alonso fended off a charging Lewis Hamilton for several laps with a defensive driving display that was deemed within the rules by the stewards, despite the World Champion’s protestations over team radio, and meant Ocon held on for the Enstone factory’s first win since 2013.
Since his comeback was announced, Alonso has always maintained 2021 would be something of a bedding-in year before F1’s new regulations are introduced next season, potentially offering he and Alpine a better chance to race at the front.
Hence the official announcement that he is staying with the team comes as no surprise.
.@Alo_Oficial 🤝 Alpine F1 Team
— Alpine F1 Team (@AlpineF1Team) August 26, 2021
“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 are 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, among the strongest on the grid.
“It works in a hugely complementary way, 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 optimisation 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.”