F1: Alonso back in saddle after fracturing jaw on bike ride
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Fernando Alonso’s career in F1 will span more than 20 years as his team Alpine has confirmed he will be returning to the grid for 2022. The Spaniard made his debut in the sport in 2001, and is still going strong with his form improving heading into the summer break this season.
The 40-year-old currently sits 11th in the driver’s standings, just one point behind teammate Esteban Ocon after being leapfrogged following the Frenchman’s unlikely victory at the Hungarian Grand Prix last time out.
Alonso said he was “very happy” to extend his stay with his current team following the “good progress” made over the course of the current campaign.
He said: “I’m very happy to confirm the contract extension with Alpine F1 Team into 2022.
“I felt at home the moment I returned to this team and have been welcomed back with open arms. It is a pleasure to work again with some of the brightest minds in our sport at Enstone and Viry-Châtillon.
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“It’s been a tricky season for everyone, but we’ve shown progress as a team and the result in Hungary serves as a good example of this progression.”
While Ocon took the headlines in Budapest, Alonso’s fourth-place finish was his best of the season so far.
The Spaniard has scored points consistently over the course of the campaign, only failing to finish in the top 10 in Bahrain, Spain and Monaco so far in 2021.
After gaining 18 points in his last two races, Alonso is confident he can continue this form in the second half of the season and also push on in 2022.
The two-time world champion also said he was looking forward to the impact the changes in technical rules will have on the sport when they come into force next year.
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He added: “We’re targeting more positive memories for the rest of this season but also crucially from next year onwards with the new regulation changes coming into Formula 1.
“I have been a big supporter of the need for a level playing field and change in the sport and the 2022 season will be a great opportunity for that. I am looking forward to the rest of this year and racing alongside Esteban in 2022 for Alpine.”
Alonso’s new deal means the team’s driver lineup for 2022 is now set in stone, after Ocon three-year commitment was announced in June.
Fifth in the constructor’s standings with 11 races to go, Alpine will hope to fend off the challenge of nearest rivals AlphaTauri to still be in that position come the end of the campaign.
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