Fernando Alonso will return to Formula One next season after he was confirmed as part of Renault’s driver line-up for the 2021 campaign.
The 38-year-old Spaniard made his debut for Minardi in Australia in 2001 and won 32 races and two world championships before stepping away from the grid in 2018.
Following confirmation of his comeback, the PA news agency looks at some of the highs and lows of Alonso’s F1 career.
Beating Schumacher at Imola
Alonso described the victory in 2005 as the win that changed his life. Michael Schumacher, who had won the last five championships, was quicker than Alonso’s Renault, but the young Spaniard refused to be rattled and superbly defended his lead over 12 nerve-jangling laps. It was Alonso’s third win of the season en route to becoming the sport’s youngest F1 champion.
Wonder move in Japan
Later that season, Alonso pulled off one of the greatest overtakes the sport has ever seen. At Suzuka’s fierce 130R corner, Alonso did the unthinkable and drove around the outside of seven-time champion Schumacher at 200 miles per hour.
Winning in Valencia for Ferrari
Of his 32 career victories, none will be sweeter for Alonso than winning on home soil in 2012. Alonso started the Valencia race down in 11th but produced a series of thrilling overtakes to claim a spectacular win. An emotional Alonso cried on the podium as he celebrated his triumph.
Blocking Hamilton in Hungary
Alonso, the reigning two-time world champion, joined rookie Lewis Hamilton at McLaren in 2007. Alonso would have expected to beat the Englishman but instead became embroiled in a bitter championship battle. Alonso’s nadir came at the Hungaroring, where he deliberately blocked Hamilton in the pit lane to ensure the Briton could not set a lap in the final moments of qualifying. Alonso was stripped of pole and hit with a five-place grid penalty as Hamilton went on to win.
Fall-out from ‘Spygate’
McLaren were fined 100million US dollars for being in illegal possession of Ferrari’s entire technical data. Alonso, who was caught up in the email exchange of the illicit information, threatened to tell all to the FIA unless he was granted number one status over Hamilton – a demand that brought about his acrimonious departure from the British team after just one season.
Failing to win the title at Ferrari
Brought in to revitalise Ferrari in the post-Schumacher era, Alonso came closest to winning the title in his first season with the Scuderia, only for a tactical error by his team at the closing race in Abu Dhabi to undermine his bid. He finished runner-up on three occasions in his five seasons at Ferrari but ended up falling out with the management and moving back to McLaren.