“Fernando Alonso would be an asset for F1 if he returned” – Domenicali
Stefan Domenicali believes Fernando Alonso would be just as competitive on any return to F1 in 2021 despite two years our of the series
Double Formula 1 World Champion Fernando Alonso would be just as strong on his return to the top-flight should he mount a comeback in 2021, according to former Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali.
The Spaniard has not started an F1 race since he left McLaren and the series at the end of the 2018 season, though he has frequently been linked with a return.
Most recently, Alonso has emerged as a contender for Daniel Ricciardo’s vacant seat at Renault– the team with which he clinched his two world titles – after the Australian confirmed he will switch to McLaren for the 2021 season.
Earlier this week Renault formally quashed exit rumours after the F1 team survived a round of sweeping cost cutting measures, so securing such a high-profile and heritage figure in Alonso could be just what the French firm needs for a marketing boost.
However, Domenicali – who headed up the Ferrari F1 team when Alonso drove one of his cars – believes Alonso will be more than just a big name for Renault, expecting him to pick up where he left off in terms of competitiveness.
“We have already fantastic young drivers… but Fernando would give another level,” he told Reuters.
“He would be for sure very strong. Of course he can be stronger with a good car, with a very fast car, but Fernando would be an asset for Formula One if he would come back.”
Will Fernando Alonso return to F1 and Renault?
Many see this scenario as an aligning of the stars for both parties.
Renault is in need of a star driver to do its bit commercially to help shift cars and provide a favourable image, while Alonso – on the assumption he wants a return to F1 – would see the welcome mat laid down for him at a team he’ll always be associated with.
However, while the original plan for the new technical regulations to be introduced in 2021 would have been a good time for Alonso to return with a fresh new challenge, the deferral to 2022 might deter him from taking the plunge with a team that is currently mired in the busy mid-field.
If Alonso doesn’t take the drive, Sebastian Vettel is another alternative, though he too may question the wisdom of moving from Ferrari to Renault given the difficult transition Ricciardo suffered when he swapped from Red Bull.