FERNANDO ALONSO is poised to reignite his rivalry with Lewis Hamilton as the Spaniard nears a sensational return to Formula One.
Alonso, 38, is expected to be confirmed as a Renault driver for the 2021 season as a replacement for McLaren-bound Daniel Ricciardo.
SunSport understands that an announcement could be made as early as tomorrow that he has signed a two-year deal worth around £30million.
He has been out of the sport since he left McLaren in 2018 and has been focusing on racing in IndyCar and the World Endurance Championship.
Alonso, who started his F1 career at Minardi, enjoyed two successful spells at Renault between 2003 and 2009, winning two world titles in ’05, and ’06.
But it was his time at McLaren in 2007 when he went up against Hamilton – who is nearing a one-race ban – where the two fell out spectacularly.
Their rivalry spilled over amid accusations of favoritism towards Hamilton and resulted in Alonso quitting the team to return to Renault the following year.
Alonso switched to Ferrari in 2010 and during his five years with the team he finished second in the championship on three occasions.
Another big-money move, this time back to McLaren, backfired as the team endured a miserable time with engine suppliers Honda.
Alonso publicly humiliated the Japanese company frequently, none more so than when he pulled up a deckchair at the Brazilian GP in 2015 after an engine failure in qualifying.
When he left in 2018, it felt like he was slipping out the backdoor.
Widely regarded as one of the best, he has two F1 titles as his undeniable talent was limited due to moving to the wrong team at the wrong time.
But Alonso – who last year labelled Hamilton a hypocrite – never closed the door on F1 and he never mentioned retirement. Instead he set about winning the Triple Crown.
Admittedly, it was not really a thing until he made it such, but nonetheless he now needs a victory in the Indy500 to complete the set of victories at Le Mans 24 Hours and Monaco F1 GP.
Alonso’s task at Renault will be to increase their competitiveness.
The French car giant has invested heavily in its F1 programme. However, they have been disappointing at best.
Ricciardo was a high-profile signing from Red Bull but has already jumped ship after feeling let down by the team’s promises.
The works team has been upstaged by customers, McLaren, who themselves are ditching Renault’s engines for next season in favour of better Mercedes ones.
As it stands, despite Renault’s substantial outlay to increase the production of their engines, they currently have no orders in the book beyond 2020.
As for Renault boss, Cyril Abiteboul, Alonso’s expected arrival will signal one final roll of the dice.
There were already rumblings that the car company would quit F1 and seeing another expensive flop could prove to be the final straw.