Fernando Alonso 'back home' in Formula 1 as two-time world champion prepares for race return
Fernando Alonso making first F1 appearance since 2018 at this weekend's Bahrain GP as he starts new era with Alpine; Watch every session from Sakhir live on Sky Sports F1, starting with first practice on Friday at 11.30am
By Matt Morlidge
Last Updated: 25/03/21 5:00pm
Fernando Alonso says he feels like he's "back home" in Formula 1 and is "very confident" ahead of his race return at this weekend's Bahrain GP.
After two years away from the sport he dazzled for the best part of 20 years, Alonso, now 39, has returned to the grid for 2021 with Alpine - a sub-brand of the Renault team he won his back-to-back titles with in the 2000s.
And despite his different motorsport experiences in recent years, Alonso admitted there was always an urge to come back to F1.
"I've always been considered the F1 guy in different paddocks," Alonso told Sky F1's Ted Kravitz in Bahrain.
"When I was in Le Mans, I was the F1 guy, when I was in Dakar I was the F1 guy, and now that I'm back in F1 it's like coming back home in a way."
He added: "But in the end I was moved always by challenging myself in different things.
"The last two years I challenged myself in completely different environments and I think coming back now and trying to be successful again in Formula 1 was the biggest challenge that I had last year when I decided to come back and when I was thinking what to do next.
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"It was very attractive."
Alonso insists he is a better driver now than he was when he left the sport two years ago - although the performance of his team may be more of an unknown.
Renault were fifth last year following a very competitive midfield fight, while the newly-rebranded Alpine had a rather quiet pre-season test at Sakhir two weeks ago.
But Alonso is excited.
"I think at this point of the year it's difficult to make any predictions," he said.
"But I think we have a good team, we have good potential, we saw some progress last year in Renault and I'm very confident that it's going to be a good 2021 for us."