Fernando Alonso to stay in F1 with Alpine in 2022

Fernando Alonso will stay in Formula One next year. Joe Portlock/Getty Images

Fernando Alonso will remain in Formula One next season with the Alpine, the team has confirmed.

Alonso, a world champion with Renault in 2005 and 2006, returned to the grid this season with the French manufacturer's rebranded Alpine team. He hinted at "big news" earlier this week ahead of Sunday's Belgian Grand Prix, which was followed by Alpine's confirmation of his new deal on Thursday.

It will keep him together with F1's newest race winner, Esteban Ocon, who signed a three-year extension earlier this season.

Alonso signed a single-year deal to return this season but he said his mind was already on 2022, when Alpine hopes to use the rule change to move to the front of the competitive order.

When asked if the new deal was ever in doubt, Alonso said: "No. In my head, it was all planned for 2022 and the new regulations. T

"hat's probably why I came back to the sport as well, for next year. But then you have also the trust of the team and you need to execute good races in this first part of the season.

"So it was not in doubt, the contract was one-plus-one so at one point we had to agree for 2022. I'm very happy with the team and the comeback, I'm looking forward so much to next year and the team apparently is happy as well with my job so far, so we took one minute to make the decision."

He also confirmed he did not speak to any other team about a 2022 contract.

Alonso, widely regarded to be one of the best drivers of the modern era, played a key role in Ocon's Hungarian Grand Prix victory by fending off Lewis Hamilton for several crucial laps late in the race.

The team referenced this in the announcement, saying: "Fernando's excellent teamwork, unparalleled experience and race craft will be strong foundations for Alpine F1 Team's continued progress."

It added: "In just six months following his two-year sabbatical from Formula 1, Fernando has shown equal measures of race craft, guile and speed. His season-best fourth place finish at the Hungarian Grand Prix was not only his best result in Formula 1 since 2014 but a display of resilience and skill, which contributed richly to ensuring the team took its first win in Formula 1 under Alpine colours."