What’s old is new again and Fernando Alonso is set to come back to Formula 1 in 2021, racing for a familiar team. For the third time in his F1 career, Alonso is set to join Renault next season as a replacement for Daniel Ricciardo who is going to McLaren.
A two-time World Champion driving for Renault, Alonso has spent his two-year sabbatical from Formula 1 by racing some of the crown jewel events around the world. Alonso won the 24 Hours of Le Mans twice but blew an engine in the 2018 Indianapolis 500 and infamously failed to qualify in last year’s race. Alonso is participating in this year’s Indy 500, which is now set for August.
This continues a chain of events that started when it was revealed that Sebastian Vettel would not be racing for Ferrari next season. Ferrari hired Carlos Sainz Jr. to replace Vettel. Ricciardo is going to McLaren to replace Sainz. Now, Alonso is expected to go to Renault to replace Ricciardo.
This leaves Vettel the odd man out. As seats get filled, Vettel isn’t a name that’s coming up for one reason or the other. Whether it’s car performance or age or how much money he’s expected to demand for a four-time champion and the third winningest driver in F1 history, it’s getting less and less likely Vettel sees the grid next season. Insane to believe for a 33-year-old with those accomplishments, but that might be a reality.