Two-time Formula 1 world champion Fernando Alonso has revealed he “talked to a few teams” before signing with Renault to return to the grid for 2021.

At the age of 39, Alonso will make a comeback to F1 following a two-year hiatus to complete a third stint at Renault, the team with which he sealed both of his world championship titles with in 2005 and 2006.

Alonso made his first appearance in the F1 paddock this season at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix as he embedded within Renault’s race operation in order to familiarise himself with the team’s procedures ahead of his return.

Speaking in an interview with Sky Sports at Imola, Alonso admitted he talked to multiple teams but said that Renault was “always the preferred choice”.

"I talked to a few teams but Renault was always the preferred choice," Alonso explained.

"[They were the preferred choice] for two reasons. One, in terms of expectations and building something from the midfield to the top, it was very attractive, very appealing. And secondly because I know everyone in this team. I know the passion for racing. It's the third time I come here and I knew I would feel at home here.

"I needed that time out and now I'm ready to give the maximum."

Alonso has been stepping up his preparations for his 2021 return by carrying out a number of tests, beginning with a filming day in Barcelona last month in Renault’s 2020 car. He has also driven a 2018-specification RS18 during a two-day test in Bahrain this week.

The Spaniard admitted he is aware of the challenge he faces with his comeback after two full seasons away.

"Honestly, I expect to be straight up to speed," Alonso explained. "But I'm aware of the challenge that maybe I face in the first couple of races.

“Not only on pure speed, but also on procedures, steering wheel commands, things that are new for me and could take some time. I'm aware that I could struggle a little bit. But I want to think that it will not happen.”

Asked if he plans to continue racing in F1 until he secures a third drivers’ world title, Alonso, who has initially signed a two-year deal with Renault, replied: "I don't think I will target a certain result before I stop.

"I think in motorsport, the stopwatch tells you when it is time to stop, not the age. I hope the stopwatch is on my side in the next coming years."

 

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