The ING Renault F1 team have announced Fernando Alonso and Nelson Piquet will remain as their driver line-up for the 2009 Formula 1 season.

The team, which secured fourth in the constructor standings this season after a strong burst of form in the latter stages, revealed double champion Alonso has penned a deal that will see him remain with the team for another two seasons, while Piquet gets an extension of one year.

Despite a stuttered start to their relationship, revived after his infamously tumultuous season at McLaren-Mercedes, Alonso flourished with Renault in the second-half of the season, highlighted by his back-to-back victories in Singapore and Japan.

In fact, the Spaniard was the high-scoring driver from the Spa round onwards, the 43 points he managed in those six races hauling him up to an eventual fifth place finish overall.

As a consequence, Alonso, who is thought to have had eyes on a Ferrari seat next year, insists he had no qualms in putting pen to paper on a new deal, which significantly sees him remain with the French concern until the end of 2010.

"I have decided to stay with the ING Renault F1 team because, as I have often repeated this season, they have always been my first choice and I feel very happy and comfortable with them. It's a very close-knit team with a competitive and winning mentality, and also a relaxed and warm attitude, which suits me perfectly."

"After a difficult start to the season, we have overcome our difficulties and constantly improved our performances," continued Fernando. "My back-to-back wins in Singapore and
Japan, and my recent second place podium finish in Brazil, have proved how competitive we can be. In the past we have won championships together, as well as going through tough moments, but we are now determined to show that we can repeat that success together in the coming seasons."

While Alonso's retention is no surprise given his superb late season form and the lack of top available drives elsewhere, the confirmation of Piquet ends months of speculation about his future in the team.

Although his second place finish in Germany and fourth in Japan aided the reputation of the young Brazilian, he was comprehensively out paced by Alonso through the season, particularly in the latter stages.

Nonetheless, while Renault test drivers Romain Grosjean and Lucas di Grassi had been mooted as his replacement, Piquet gets a stay of execution. It is faith he is determined to repay.

"Obviously I am delighted to have the opportunity to race for the ING Renault F1 Team for a second year. Although I have had a tough year, I have learned a lot from my rookie season and I will aim to put that experience to good use next season.

"I want to thank the team for their support this year and for the trust they have shown in me for the future. I'm already excited about 2009 and looking forward to working with the team over the winter so that we can start next season strongly."

Managing director Flavio Briatore, meanwhile, has hailed the driver pairing as 'one of the most exciting in F1' as he bids to lead Renault back to the kind of form they enjoyed during their 2005 and 2006 championship winning campaigns.

"We are happy to confirm both Fernando and Nelson for next season," he said. "This gives the ING Renault F1 Team one of the most exciting driver pairings with the perfect blend of youth and experience.

"Fernando's commitment for the next two seasons confirms the faith he has in the team and we are delighted to continue working with him. He has been a big asset throughout this difficult season and his leadership and talent, matched with the team's hard work and determination, have paid off with our recent performances, which have placed the ING Renault F1 Team back among the top competitors of Formula 1."


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