New team Alpine launch their Formula One challenger for the 2021 season

New team Alpine unveil their Formula One challenger for the 2021 season… but returning two-time champion Fernando Alonso is absent from the launch due to Covid travel restrictions between his Switzerland home and the team’s Oxfordshire base

  • Alpine have launched a stylish-looking Formula One car for the 2021 season
  • The French-Anglo team are making their debut after taking over from Renault 
  • Fernando Alonso is back in F1 after spending two seasons away from the sport 
  • He couldn’t be at the team’s launch due to Covid-19 travel restrictions 

The new Alpine team have launched their first Formula One car ahead of the 2021 season which will be driven by the returning Fernando Alonso.

Having undergone a winter rebrand following its previous guise as Renault, the team will be hoping to build upon a respectable fifth-placed finish last term, with the two-time world champion back on board for a third spell.

The car unveiled showed an attractive electric blue livery, with a notable tail featuring the tricolore of the French flag and splash of the Union flag to show the French-Anglo make up of the team. 

The Alpine team launched a stylish electric blue-based livery for their Formula One debut

The team have taken over the outfit formerly known as Renault for the upcoming season

The team have taken over the outfit formerly known as Renault for the upcoming season

Alonso won his world championships while with the team in their Renault guise back in 2005 and 2006.

And after an absence of two seasons, the 39-year-old will be back behind the wheel of an F1 car with the French team based in Enstone, Oxfordshire. 

The Spaniard, though, was not present for the car’s launch due to travel restrictions in relation to Covid-19, preventing him from being able to attend the virtual launch in the UK from his Switzerland home.

However, he commented on his return to the sport and with the team having also raced for them as Renault in 2008 and 2009.

The French team, though, will still work out of their Enstone factory in Oxfordshire, England

The French team, though, will still work out of their Enstone factory in Oxfordshire, England

The French-Anglo relationship is featured with both flags appearing near the rear of the car

The French-Anglo relationship is featured with both flags appearing near the rear of the car

‘I am extremely happy to be back after two years away from Formula One. I’m very motivated heading into this new chapter with Alpine, and it’s of course very special to be back with the team that I achieved so much with in the past,’ Alonso said.

‘The spirit is strong at both factories in Enstone and Viry-Chatillon, and we’re all very excited for what’s ahead.’

Alonso will be partnered alongside Esteban Ocon, with the French driver who was present to help the virtual launch, admitting he loved the new look of the car having driven for the team in its final Renault year last term alongside Daniel Ricciardo.

Ocon said: ‘I am extremely happy to be back after two years away from Formula One. I’m very motivated heading into this new chapter with Alpine, and it’s of course very special to be back with the team that I achieved so much with in the past.

Fernando Alonso returns to Formula One after two years away

The Spaniard will be hoping to add to his two world championships, pictured above is his first in 2005

Fernando Alonso returns to Formula One after two years away as he hopes to rekindle his hopes of adding to his two world championships (pictured right, his first in 2005)

The 39-year-old has been trying to get back up to speed with a recent test run in Bahrain

The 39-year-old has been trying to get back up to speed with a recent test run in Bahrain

‘The spirit is strong at both factories in Enstone and Viry-Chatillon, and we’re all very excited for what’s ahead.’

Alpine also announced the arrival of former AlphaTauri driver Daniil Kvyat as a test driver, with Ocon set to drive the car for the first time on track at Silverstone on Wednesday. 

Although a fight for the world championship is likely to be out of reach, both drivers will be keen to build upon last year’s 181 points and a fifth-placed finish that saw them pick up three podium finishes along the way.

Alonso heads into the season looking to prove he still has the speed to compete at the top level but his year got off to a terrible start in February when he was hit by a car in a cycling accident.

The incident near his Swiss home saw him rushed to hospital where following jaw surgery he was soon released, with the Alpine team confident it will have no impact upon his return to the cockpit.

Driving alongside Alonso at Alpine will be Esteban Ocon (above) who was at the team last year

Driving alongside Alonso at Alpine will be Esteban Ocon (above) who was at the team last year

Alonso (pictured right in 2018) is fighting fit again following a cycling accident last month

Alonso (pictured right in 2018) is fighting fit again following a cycling accident last month