Fernando Alonso has admitted it will be 2022 before he can realistically challenge for F1 victories upon his return to the Renault team.
The Spaniard has signed up to drive from next year for the manufacturer with which he won the World Championship in 2005 and 2006, replacing Daniel Ricciardo who is moving to McLaren.
But Alonso thinks his best chance of adding to his 32 wins in F1, and even competing for another title, will come in 2022 when the new technical regulations are introduced to try and level up the sport’s playing field.
“Next year’s cars are going to be the same as we are seeing now, so I am aware of where Renault may be and that we are not going to fight for the front positions,” said the 38-year-old as reported by Marca.
“But the work of trying to improve for 2022 with a strong team and a strong environment is exciting. Anyway, when I close the visor, I don’t care if it’s for 10th, seventh or fourth, it will always feel like the last corner of the World Championship.”
🏁 Fernando Alonso joins Renault DP World F1 Team 🏁
Renault DP World F1 Team is pleased to confirm Fernando Alonso alongside Esteban Ocon in its driver line-up for the 2021 season.
— Renault F1 Team (@RenaultF1Team) July 8, 2020
Since he last raced in F1 at the 2018 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix for McLaren, Alonso has been focusing on competing in some of the world’s most famous events in other series.
In 2019, he won the Le Mans 24-Hour Race for the second successive year plus the 24 Hours of Daytona and is now turning his attention to completing the ‘triple crown’ by winning the Indy 500 on August 23 – to add to his triumphs at Le Mans and in the Monaco Grand Prix.
He also took part in this year’s Dakar Rally, finishing 13th.
“I have been watching the F1 races and looking ahead to Indianapolis, which is my challenge this year,” added Alonso about his recent activities.
“It’s difficult due to the situation with (COVID-19) infections in the United States and difficulties with travelling. There are no flights, we need permits, but it’s looking good to get there and do the race.
“In September I will then look at F1 and next year, looking forward to having another adventure.”