Fernando Alonso targeting F1 return to complete 'unfinished business'

Fernando Alonso is targeting a return to Formula One next year and is confident he will win the championship if given the right car.

Alonso left the series at the end of 2018 after four seasons with McLaren failed to yield results. Since then, he has won the Le Mans 24 Hours twice, become WEC champion, returned to the Indy 500 and competed in the Dakar Rally.

But above all else, he wants to return to a competitive Formula One car next year following F1's rules reset.

"I'm not done with F1," he told F1 Racing. "2021 is a good opportunity and I feel fresh and ready now. It's something I will explore.

"Formula One is unfinished business because people think that we deserved more than we achieved -- especially in the last few years. In my museum there are cabinets with a lot of trophies, but nothing recently and that seems a bit weird."

However, it is not yet clear which team Alonso plans to return with and who would accept him. In the F1 Racing article, he is asked about the top three teams -- Red Bull, Mercedes and Ferrari -- but does not give a clear answer about which one is the most likely.

He adds: "The only problem with new rules is some teams could interpret them differently to others. You can join a team that is winning now, but if they make a mistake with the regs, will people say I made a bad decision again?"

However, he believes the new regulations in 2021 will make the sport more competitive and will facilitate closer racing. After his experiences away from F1, he is confident he would return to the sport as a stronger driver capable of fighting for titles.

"When you do events like Dakar, you meet different people with different philosophies," he said. "I will be ready to come back [to F1] stronger and, if in the right package, [I] will win.

"I have so much self-confidence that I know I can take any car and if everything goes well, I should win. Driving is the only thing in life that I know I do well at."

From the outside, Alonso's options appear to be limited for 2021. He claims to have been approached by Red Bull on numerous occasions, but the team recently committed to Max Verstappen until the end of 2023 and does not have a history of hiring drivers from outside its own driver programme.

Alonso's former team Ferrari has committed to Charles Leclerc until the end of 2025 and last year its chairman, John Elkann, had a private meeting with Lewis Hamilton, fueling rumours of a potential switch. That could leave a place at world champions Mercedes, but after the Leclerc news it now seems more likely that Hamilton will stay put.

If Hamilton does stay at Mercedes, an Alonso return would require one of the top three teams to introduce him as a rival to its first-choice driver, which seems unlikely given the problems all three teams have had with warring teammates in the past.

His other former teams, McLaren and Renault, could offer opportunities in 2021, but both options would require a leap of faith from Alonso, given the gap they currently have to the front of the grid.