FERNANDO ALONSO is gearing up for a crack at becoming F1 world champion in 2022 – when he will be 41.
The Spaniard has rejoined the Renault F1 team and will drive for them next season, as SunSport was first to reveal on Monday.
Alonso, who turns 39 later this month, has agreed a two-year deal with Renault worth around £15million a year.
And the two-time world champ says he has set his sights on 2022 – when F1’s strict budget cap comes into play to stop the big teams getting an advantage.
He said: “It is an extremely happy day for me coming back to F1 but also to the team I had the best experience with.
“I know a lot of people in Renault and I know their passion and how they are hungry for success.
“With new rules in 2022, there is a chance of having a championship that is more equal between the teams and more fair.
“I am aware of things. I haven’t been underground for two years and I know that only one team will win in 2020 and probably in 2021.
“But we try to work with our own team and on our own future and the 2022 rules will hopefully bring some fairness and the teams more equal.
“Having that in mind, there is enough time to build the momentum we need. I am happy and relaxed.
“I am aware of what 2021 will be and I am hopeful of 2022. It is a matter of building something together, something you trust, that has the capabilities and the investment and all those ingredients I found in Renault.”
Alonso has been out of F1 since quitting McLaren in 2018. He said his priority was to see “how life was like outside the bubble of Formula One” but always intended to return.
He has spent the last two years racing in other categories and insists he is just as sharp while fitness-wise, he is in the best shape ever.
He added: “Last year was an active season for me and this year it is the same for everyone because the world stopped for several months, so we are all in the same conditions.
“Last year I was behind the steering wheel nearly every week of the year and I feel ready. I feel 100 percent in terms of driving.
“Physically I had to rebuild my body. I started specific training in February and I had a fitness test 15 days ago and had the best results ever in my career and I am happy and stronger than ever.”
Renault boss Cyril Abiteboul who will partner Alonso alongside Esteban Ocon for next season, added: “We welcome a world champion and not just any world champion.
“We know there is lots of work for him and for us, but we are on a mission. It is a very clear project with 2022 as the target with clear visions and expectations.”