The rumour mill started to go into overdrive on Tuesday 7 July, with endless motorsport and sports news websites, newspapers, TV channels and radio stations around the world latching on to the expected confirmation.
Within 24 hours, on the Wednesday, the news was duly confirmed by Renault DP World F1 Team.
In effect, Alonso will replace Daniel Ricciardo who will leave the team at the end of this season and become team-mate to Frenchman Esteban Ocon who joined the squad for this year.
Spaniard Alonso has long been considered an all-time F1 great since winning back-to-back F1 crowns with Renault in 2005 and 2006 – in each season he took on and beat Ferrari’s previously all-conquering Michael Schumacher.
After a season with McLaren in 2007, Alonso returned to Renault for 2008 where he stayed until eventually moving to Ferrari in 2010.
Out of his F1 career wins, 17 of them have been with Renault. They include his very first, in 2003 after he’d first joined the team in 2002.
Moreover, after two seasons out of F1, this marks an opportunity for Alonso to return to a sport with a team he calls ‘family’.
“Renault is my family, my fondest memories in F1 with my two World Championship titles, but I'm now looking ahead,” enthused Alonso. “It's a great source of pride and with an immense emotion, I’m returning to the team that gave me my chance at the start of my career and which now gives me the opportunity to return to the highest level.
“I have principles and ambitions in line with the team's project. Their progress this winter gives credibility to the objectives for the 2022 season and I will share all my racing experience with everyone from the engineers to the mechanics and my team-mates. The team wants and has the means to get back on the podium, as do I.”
Renault clearly believes Alonso has a strong understanding of the brand’s goals in F1 and as an ideal mentor to Ocon – at just 23, he is 16 years younger than the Spaniard who turns 39 on 29 July.
Cyril Abiteboul, Managing Director, Renault Sport Racing said: “The signing of Fernando Alonso is part of Groupe Renault’s plan to continue its commitment to F1 and to return to the top of the field.
“His presence in our team is a formidable asset on the sporting level but also for the brand to which he is very attached. The strength of the bond between him, the team and the fans make him a natural choice.
“In addition to past successes, it is a bold mutual choice as well as a project for the future. His experience and determination will enable us to get the best out of each other to take the team towards the excellence that modern Formula 1 demands.
“He will also bring to our team, which has grown very fast, a culture of racing and winning to overcome hurdles together. Alongside Esteban, his mission will be to help Renault DP World F1 Team prepare for the 2022 season in the best possible conditions.”