After the departure of Daniel Ricciardo at Renault, the team had to look for a worthy replacement. A number of options were available, including the Renault Academy's own junior drivers, but in the end the French team opted for the veteran Alonso.
According to Abiteboul, the team consciously opted for the expertise that the Spaniard brings with him. "Fernando knows the sport inside out, both on and off the track," the team boss tells The Race. "He can draw up a plan and build a strategy. Not just for our own team, but for the whole F1 programme at Renault".
The Frenchman therefore also indicates that Alonso's main focus is on 2022. "He has almost no interest in the 2021 season. He's already racing with us next year and you'd think we'd be as strong as we can, but he immediately said "Forget 2021. Not that we can be good then, but it's all about 2022'".
A remarkable thought, but Abiteboul liked that. "The mentality to build up success in F1 years in advance by sacrificing the years before, that has always happened in sport. Alonso can bring that philosophy to the team and that is very useful for me as team boss, but also to ensure peace within the team", concludes the Frenchman.