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.