Alpine have announced that Fernando Alonso will be retained for the 2022 Formula One season.
Alonso last summer signed a two-year contract to return to the Enstone-based team just prior to the constructor’s announcement of this year’s rebrand from Renault to Alpine, meaning that this confirmation is simply clarification that Alpine will retain their current line-up of Alonso and Esteban Ocon in 2022.
Speaking on his decision to remain with the team ahead of next season’s shakeup of regulations, Alonso said: ” 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.”
Alonso though reflected that there is still work to do following “a tricky season” despite the team making considerable progress, as evidenced by Ocon’s win in Hungary last time out.
Looking ahead to the second half of this season, Alonso is keen to enjoy further success, commenting: “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.”
The 40 year-old also spoke about his excitement for 2022 which he hopes will create “a level playing field and change in the sport”, following consecutive eras of one-team dominance this century except for 2007-09 seasons.
Alpine CEO, Laurent Rossi added that the team is “very pleased” to retain Alonso, describing the pair as “hugely complementary” in their partnership of “raw talent and speed”, whilst demonstrating “impeccable team spirit” which helps to drive the team forward.
Rossi also praised Alonso for showing “dedication, teamwork and focus to extract the maximum from the team”, whilst also playing the teammate role like he did in Hungary as he held a fast-charging Lewis Hamilton up for several laps to gift Ocon victory.
2022 though sees a new technical era in F1 kick off but Rossi believes that Alonso’s experiences and insight will be beneficial for the team, yet is aware that the Spaniard needs 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 announcement in turn creates further questions about the futures of Alpine juniors, Guanyu Zhou and Oscar Piastri who are both battling for the Formula Two title this season, yet this move limits the opportunities for both drivers to graduate into F1 next season.