Pushing 40, Fernando Alonso will be returning to Formula 1 with his former championship-winning team, Renault. Eric Boullier, former Racing Director at McLaren, revealed that he was expecting Alonso to return to F1. He also added that the Spaniard still has the potential to “surprise a lot of people.”
Eric felt that the 2-time World Champion is still aching for greater challenges in motorsport. “I think he still wants to deliver. And enjoy some challenges,” he said.
“He understands that the moment when you’re competing at the top of your game, it is different. But I’m sure he can still surprise a lot of people.”
Alonso chose to leave Formula One towards the end of 2018 as McLaren were never competitive throughout his tenure with the team.
But now, Alonso could be looking at a golden opportunity to score some podiums with Renault/Alpine Racing before signing off from the sport for good.
Looking at Renault’s recent developments, Boullier is confident that Alonso could make it even better for the French team. “I want to be honest. It will be good for both Alonso and Renault for all the hard work they have been doing,” he said.
Over this season, Renault have solved most of the problems that saw them struggling at the bottom of the food chain, behind the mid-field teams. And steadily they have progressed a lot in terms of both one-lap pace and race pace.
Although Renault are still vulnerable in certain areas, they definitely have become extremely dominating over the other mid-field teams.
“We saw them have a setback in Portugal. So there are still some things that they have to solve definitely with the car,” Eric said. “But I think if they keep pushing and doing what they are doing, they will be a usual top-three in no time.”
The last time Alonso stood on the podium was at the Hungarian Grand Prix in 2014. Following that season, he moved to McLaren.
With this comeback, Alonso will be hoping for just one thing- driving a competitive car. Something that he has been longing for over the last 5 years.
(The quotes have been translated from Spanish by Google Translate)