Fernando Alonso insists the stopwatch is the only thing that matters and has no concerns over his age as he prepares to return to Formula One with Renault. 

The two-time world champion's signing was confirmed by the team on Wednesday, with reports suggesting he has joined on an initial two-year deal. 

That means Alonso, who turns 39 this month, will be 41 during the 2022 season, the first year F1 brings in new regulations the Spaniard hopes will produce a more level playing field. 

Alonso is in his second year away from the grid and his last championship came in 2006, but he feels as fit and ready as he ever has before. 

"The stopwatch is the only thing that matters, not the age," he told reporters.  

"I never had a classification on the race based on the passport, my date of birth. It's always on the stopwatch. 

"I feel ready and I feel I'm at 100 per cent in terms of driving. I did a couple of fitness tests 15 days ago and I had the best results in my career. 

"I am extremely motivated, happy and stronger than ever."

F1's new regulations were initially scheduled to come in for 2021 but have been pushed back a year due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

"Probably my first intention was to go out in 2018 and see how life was outside the bubble and have a think for the 2021 rules," Alonso said. 

"This has been postponed one year because of covid but still it's worth being in the sport in 2021 as a preparation for me after two years not driving these cars, to build up with the team and have a good season. 

"I know only one team will be winning in 2020 - and in 2021 probably - but I think the 2022 rules will hopefully bring some fairness to the sport. 

"[Hopefully] some close action with teams more level and less scope to invent something that has a large performance advantage. 

"There is time to build on those projects. I am relaxed, I am aware of what 2021 will be and I'm hopeful for 2022." 

Alonso is ready to be a team player to help Renault, who were fifth in the constructors' championship last season, return to the top of the sport. 

He added: "I will try to do my best and try and help the team be a world champion team. 

"If that's with me driving then fantastic but if that's with a future younger driver then I will feel proud anyway. The team wants and has the means to get back on the podium, as do I.  

"Whatever the 2022 rules bring, I can hopefully help them with my experience. I'm aware of my mission, which is not only focused on the car but also outside the car.  

"It's an extremely happy day for me coming back to F1 first but also to the team with which I had the best experience in the category." 

Fernando Alonso is returning to Formula One in 2021, having agreed to re-join Renault for a third spell.

The two-time world champion will have been away from the grid for two seasons when he returns to the highest level of motorsport.

He will also be 15 years removed from winning his second straight drivers' title with Renault in 2006.

Alonso, who turns 39 next month, has also represented McLaren in two stints, as well as driving for Ferrari and Minardi during his F1 career.

After his return with Renault was confirmed on Wednesday, we have looked at some of the best statistics from his career to date.

Sixth all-time in race wins - Alonso has won 32 races in his professional career: ranking sixth in that category after Michael Schumacher (91), Lewis Hamilton (84), Sebastian Vettel (53), Alain Prost (51) and Ayrton Senna (41).

Record in his sights - Alonso ranks third for races in F1, with his 312 putting him behind only Rubens Barrichello (323) and Kimi Raikkonen (314).

Fast start - Alonso was the youngest driver to win a race (22 years 26 days in Hungary 2003) and to conquer the F1 world championship (24 years 1 month 27 days in Brazil 2005). Those records were later beaten by Max Verstappen and Sebastian Vettel respectively.

Podium regular - Alonso ranks third for the driver to record the most second-place finishes (37 along with Raikkonen) after Schumacher (43) and Hamilton (39). He has 97 podiums in total - 44 of which were achieved in five years with Ferrari - a number which is good for sixth all time.

Renault return - The Spanish driver has won two races more for Renault (17) than for the rest of his other teams combined (15).

Favourite circuits - Alonso has won three times in Malaysia, Bahrain and Germany, as well as at the European Grand Prix, making those four events the most successful of his F1 career.

Brazil and Belgium not on list - Brazil is the F1 circuit where the Spaniard has been the most times without winning (17 races), closely followed by Belgium (15).

History made – Alonso was the fifth F1 world champion to win 24 Hours of Le Mans and the first since Graham Hill did so back in 1972.

McLaren woe – Of his 67 career retirements, 31 of those have come with McLaren, whose Honda engine struggles marred his four-year second spell with the team, which ended in 2018.

Racking up the points – His career points total of 1,899 puts him third all time, with Hamilton holding the record on 3,443.

Qualifying not as strong- Hamilton also holds the record for pole positions with 88, Alonso by comparison has just 22 to sit 13th in the overall rankings.

Fernando Alonso will be back in Formula One next season after agreeing to return with Renault.

Alonso quit F1 in 2018, but has agreed to replace Daniel Ricciardo in 2021, with the Australian driver on his way to McLaren.

Two-time F1 world champion Alonso, who turns 39 this month, will join Esteban Ocon for his third spell with Renault.

The Spaniard won back-to-back titles in 2005 and 2006 during his first stint with Renault.

Since Alonso last raced in F1, he has taken on challenges including the Indianapolis 500 and World Endurance Championship but will be back on the grid next year.

"Fernando is a great driver returning to F1 enriched by other experiences and willing to build with his much-loved team," Renault said in a statement as his signing was confirmed on Wednesday.

"The tenets of work, surpassing oneself and ingenuity as well as Fernando's DNA defined by tenacity and pure talent make this union an obvious one.

"He will be an asset in the many efforts to win back the title and will give meaning to Renault's commitment to the highest level of motorsport.

"The desire is to build a team around two complementary drivers, combining experience and youth, and pooling their values and talent in the service of the project.

"Fernando's fighting spirit should benefit the whole team and allow everyone to achieve their goals."

Alonso started his career with Minardi and spent a year as a test driver with Renault before representing them for four seasons, culminating in his two championships.

He joined McLaren for an uncomfortable season alongside Lewis Hamilton before returning to Renault for two years.

Alonso then spent five years with Ferrari, finishing second in the drivers' championship on three occasions, agonisingly unable to add to his tally of titles.

Alonso's second spell with McLaren ended with huge frustration as the team were uncompetitive over four seasons due to issues with their Honda engine.

The 32-time race winner will now look to help Renault, who were fifth in last year's constructors' championship, back to the top ahead of the new F1 regulations, which will now come into force in 2022.

"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," said managing director Cyril Abiteboul.

"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."

Fernando Alonso will be back in Formula One next season after agreeing to return with Renault.

Alonso quit F1 in 2018, but has agreed to replace Daniel Ricciardo in 2021, with the Australian driver on his way to McLaren.

Two-time F1 world champion Alonso, who turns 39 this month, will join Esteban Ocon for his third spell with Renault.

The Spaniard won back-to-back titles in 2005 and 2006 during his first stint with Renault before joining McLaren.

Esteban Ocon would be "very happy" if Fernando Alonso makes a Formula One return with a move to Renault.

Two-time F1 world champion Alonso and Sebastian Vettel have been linked with a Renault seat for 2021 after Daniel Ricciardo agreed a deal with McLaren.

Alonso quit F1 at the end of the 2018 season, but Ocon hopes he will make a comeback to join him at the French team.

Asked who he would like to be his team-mate in 2021, Ocon said: "I got asked that question many times of course during this lockdown period but I always respond honestly, and my personal choice has no relation to what the team is going to do, but I have a great relationship with Fernando.

"The helmet I have, and the only swap I did in between the drivers was with him.

"He was the one with Michael [Schumacher], you know, his fights back in the days, and that gave me the love for the sport.

"I don't know if he's going to join or not with us but definitely, if he could come back, I would be very happy."

Ricciardo was Vettel's team-mate at Red Bull and although he would not be against a reunion with the German, who will leave Ferrari at the end of this season, he would also relish being a colleague of Alonso's if he had to make the choice.

The Australian said ahead of the first race of the season in Austria this weekend: "I would only say Alonso just because it's something I've yet to experience, and I think team-mates are great benchmarks and also great additions to your skillset,

"You can always learn something. I don't believe there's any driver in this sport that's been perfect yet so there's always an improvement to make.

"For that, I'd say Fernando, but... I only had 12 months with Seb, that went pretty quickly, so I wouldn't be opposed to that again."

At long last, the 2020 Formula One season will finally begin this week.

The action will begin with the Austrian Grand Prix behind closed doors at the Red Bull Ring, with the Steiermark Grand Prix being held at the same track the following weekend.

Silverstone will also stage two races this year, with Hungary, Spain, Belgium and Italy the only other confirmed events as things stand.

The season had been due to get underway with the Australian Grand Prix in March, but it was cancelled after a member of the McLaren garage tested positive for COVID-19.

A lot of things have changed since then, so we have recapped the biggest stories during the four-month coronavirus hiatus.

 

Vettel decision sparks driver changes

Ferrari announced that four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel would not remain with the team beyond the end of this season.

The German has yet to find another seat in F1, with Carlos Sainz to replace him at Ferrari and Daniel Ricciardo leaving Renault for McLaren.

Toto Wolff confirmed Mercedes are monitoring Vettel's situation, though Valtteri Bottas claims he was told by the Silver Arrows there is nothing to the story.

Renault are yet to disclose who will take Ricciardo's place in 2021, with a shock return for two-time champion Fernando Alonso mooted.

Regulation changes pushed back to 2022

The pandemic forced a number of teams to furlough staff or reduce the size of their workforce, while F1 brought its mandatory mid-season shutdown period forward and extended it.

Together with the reduction in income from the lack of racing, sweeping changes to the technical regulations that were expected to challenge Mercedes' dominance of the series have been pushed back.

Teams will now contest the 2021 season in the same cars as this year, with the new rules instead coming into effect from 2022.

Budget cap implemented and reduced

In a bid to level the playing field in F1, for the first time a cost cap will come into effect from the 2021 season. This will limit the amount teams can spend on their cars to $145million.

The cap had initially been set at $175m but was lowered to avoid the possibility of some constructors spending up to that limit while others found themselves incapable of doing so due to the financial impact of the coronavirus crisis.

In 2022 the cap will be reduced to $140m, before dropping to $135m the following year and remaining there. This was done to make it easier for the bigger teams to adjust the size and scale of their operations.

Mercedes manoeuvring

A key member of Mercedes' six-year domination of F1 has left the team.

Managing director Andy Cowell, who had direct responsibility for the F1 power unit, helped establish Mercedes at the pinnacle of the sport in his 16 years with the team, but Hywel Thomas took over from him on July 1.

Mercedes team principal Wolff bought a stake in Aston Martin, which is controlled by Racing Point owner Lawrence Stroll.

Wolff insisted a personal investment "has nothing to do with Formula One", despite the fact Racing Point will be rebranded as Aston Martin on the 2021 grid.

A push for diversity

Six-time champion Lewis Hamilton criticised the Formula One community for its silence in the wake of the death of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis in May, which sparked anti-racism protests around the globe.

The 35-year-old Briton subsequently partnered with the Royal Academy of Engineering to create The Hamilton Commission, looking at how more young people from black backgrounds can be brought into motorsport or be employed elsewhere in the field of engineering. F1 has also set up a new task force to increase diversity and inclusion in the sport.

Mercedes signalled their commitment to fighting racism and discrimination by unveiling an all-black livery in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, switching from their traditional Silver Arrows design.

Hamilton and Bottas will race in black overalls, while 'End Racism' will feature on the halo of both cars and the F1 initiative #WeRaceAsOne will appear on the mirrors.

Fernando Alonso was restored into the Virtual 24 Hours of Le Mans after "a combination between human error and a game glitch" forced him to retire during the early running on Saturday.

Former Formula One drivers Alonso and Rubens Barrichello joined forces for the event, which is taking place due to the coronavirus pandemic forcing the postponement of the real race until September.

Their FA/RB AllInSports number 14 entry stopped on track after a penalty for a collision was imposed when the Spaniard entered the pit lane, meaning he ran out of fuel.

In a video posted on Twitter, Alonso said: "So, here we are - not the [Le Mans] 24 Hours virtual that we were hoping for.

"I think a combination between human error and a game glitch put us in a bad situation.

"I think the race directors gave us a penalty when we were on the pit lane, which is a little bit unusual, and the game doesn't allow you to block that penalty - to serve it a lap later, at least to put [in] fuel.

"So it serves the penalty but doesn't put [in] any fuel or tyres, so we didn't have fuel for the following lap.

"That glitch and probably that penalty when we were on the pit lane was not expected for anyone.

"Unfortunately not the race we were hoping for, and we did I think good preparations, so we will have fun on the next 24.

"Let's see if we can choose another race soon with this super team and let's enjoy."

However, a technical issue meant the servers had to be restarted and the race was red-flagged.

Alonso's team were subsequently put back into the field with more than 18 and a half hours of racing remaining.

Renault are considering a second return for Fernando Alonso but will not rush a decision on their 2021 line-up, team principal Cyril Abiteboul has confirmed.

The French outfit have a spare seat for next year after Daniel Ricciardo sealed a move to McLaren.

Talk has subsequently built of Alonso coming back to the team where he twice won the Formula One drivers' championship.

The Spaniard departed Renault after his second triumph in 2006 but never again won the title, finishing third with Mercedes and then - after a two-year stint back at Renault - second on three occasions with Ferrari.

Alonso quit F1 following the 2018 campaign, yet he later said he would not "close doors 100 per cent to anything in the future".

Asked about the possibility of signing Alonso, Abiteboul told RMC: "It could be a lot of drivers. There are some nice drivers who will be available next year.

"The one you mentioned is an option."

The usual F1 driver carousel has started early in 2020, with the season yet to get under way due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Besides Ricciardo's switch, Ferrari have already announced Sebastian Vettel's departure and the arrival of Carlos Sainz as his replacement.

Abiteboul has been left bemused by the swift business and, in contrast, is determined to take his time.

He added: "The only thing I can say for sure is that we're going to take the time to think about it. It's an extremely important decision.

"We didn't want to get into the kind of activism that there has been from Ferrari and McLaren, for reasons that are theirs.

"Quite frankly, deciding on a driver when the [2020] season hasn't even started, we thought it was a bit strange.

"This choice of driver is the last piece of the puzzle in our reconstruction. There is a huge importance of taking our time and making the right choice."

Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc and two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso are the latest big names to sign up for the virtual 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Leclerc will form part of one of the three Ferrari teams with Alfa Romeo driver Antonio Giovinazzi and a pair of sim racers.

The online race will be held on June 13-14, when the real event – which has been pushed back until September 19-20 due to the coronavirus pandemic – was initially scheduled to take place.

Leclerc has some impressive recent experience in online racing, having been victorious twice in F1's Virtual Grand Prix series and putting together a run of five successive podiums.

Alonso, who has won the past two 24 Hours of Le Mans alongside Sebastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima, will join forces with former F1 driver Rubens Barrichello for the FA/RB Allinsports team.

"Back to @24hoursoflemans this time for virtual 24h! Thanks @FIAWEC and all organisers to put this together. Will be fun," tweeted Alonso.

An all-female line-up of Katherine Legge, Tatiana Calderon, Sophia Florsch and sim racer Emily Jones will represent the Richard Mille Racing Team.

On Thursday it was announced Juan Pablo Montoya, who has competed in F1, IndyCar, NASCAR and came third in the LMP2 class at Le Mans in 2018, will drive for Team Penske alongside Simon Pagenaud, Dane Cameron and Ricky Taylor.

Jenson Button, F1 champion in 2009, is set to take part for Team Rocket Zansho, while AlphaTauri driver Pierre Gasly and Jean-Eric Vergne will team up for Veloce Esports.

Earlier this week it was announced Max Verstappen and Lando Norris will compete alongside a pair of sim racers for Team Redline.

Former Ferrari drivers Felipe Massa and Giancarlo Fisichella are also on the list of entrants.

Carlos Sainz Jr. hopes Fernando Alonso makes his return to Formula One next year.

Alonso, 38, has been linked with a return to Renault, having left F1 at the end of 2018 following 17 seasons.

Sainz, who will join Ferrari from McLaren next year, said he hoped to see his fellow Spaniard return.

"F1 is for the best and Alonso is one of them," he told Movistar+ on Tuesday.

"It is his place and I would like him to be there. Fernando can decide … I want him to decide what makes him happy, but I would like him to be there."

Sainz finished sixth in the drivers' championship last year, while the 2020 season is yet to get underway due to the coronavirus pandemic.

While the 25-year-old has signed with Ferrari, he is still eager to deliver for McLaren this season.

"I understand people who want to see me in red and fighting for podiums and victories," Sainz said.

"But 2020 is a different year and we are going to be required to work very hard. My love for McLaren, I want to leave with my homework well done."

Re-signing Fernando Alonso would be a "no-brainer" for Renault, but McLaren chief executive Zak Brown wonders whether he has the appetite.

Renault will lose Daniel Ricciardo to McLaren at the end of the 2020 Formula One season but Alonso and Sebastian Vettel are high-profile candidates to replace him.

Alonso, a two-time F1 world champion with the French outfit, walked away from the series in 2018 following four tough years with McLaren and has gone on to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans and participate in the Dakar Rally, while a third attempt at the Indy 500 is planned for this year.

The Spaniard's manager Flavio Briatore this week claimed the 38-year-old is ready to return to F1 and Brown thinks it makes sense for Renault to make an approach.

However, he is unsure Alonso would be willing to drive for a team that is not challenging for victories.

Brown told Sky Sports: "I spoke with him the other day, I was kinda poking around, and I think he's undecided.

"If I was running Renault that's who I'd put in the car; a big name, fast as anyone, won two championships with them so he's got history.

"So from a Renault perspective I think he's a no-brainer to put in, but whether Fernando wants to get back to 22 races with a car that doesn't look like it's capable of winning yet.

"With Fernando's stature what would get him to jump in a seat is if he thinks he can be on the top of the podium.

"Given they're on a similar journey back to the front [to McLaren] - and I think they'll get there, they're a great team, great resources, great company whose been there done that before - I don't know if Fernando has the appetite to be on a three-year journey rather than getting in a car that he can win in in '21."

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said a move for Vettel would be "a good marketing story" for the Silver Arrows, who look like the four-time champion's only other option to Renault.

News of the German's decision to leave Ferrari after the 2020 campaign came too late for McLaren to make a move and Brown hopes it does not leave him without a seat next season.

"We were already far down the path with Daniel, we knew it was either going to be Daniel or Carlos in our car. We knew that in the winter. By the time this all popped up with Seb, our ship had sailed," said Brown.

"I like where Daniel's at in his career, he's got something to prove, he's hungry. Seb's an awesome champion. I don't know what will happen with him, kinda like Fernando because if he wants to get in a car where he can go and win the championship right away it doesn't appear those seats are available, so does he want to hit the reset button and get on a three-year journey somewhere or is he done?

"I think he clearly still wants to race so it would be unfortunate if you had a four-time world champion who wants to race but can't find that seat that he deserves."

Fernando Alonso is refreshed and motivated for a return to Formula One, according to his manager Flavio Briatore.

Two-time F1 champion Alonso walked away from the series after the 2018 season following four tricky years with McLaren, who had well-documented issues with their Honda engine.

A domino-effect occurred in F1 last week when it was announced Sebastien Vettel will leave Ferrari at the end of the 2020 season, the start of which has been delayed by the coronavirus pandemic.

Vettel's seat is to be taken by Carlos Sainz and Daniel Ricciardo will move to McLaren, leaving a spot spare at Renault.

McLaren chief Zak Brown cast doubt as to whether Alonso would take that drive as he feels he will want a winning car, but Briatore hinted the Spaniard may be back in F1 before long.

"Fernando is motivated," he told La Gazzetta dello Sport. 

"A year out of Formula 1 has done him good. He has detoxed himself and I see him more serene and ready to return."

Briatore likened Vettel's situation at Ferrari last season, where he was outperformd by novice Charles Leclerc, to the one experienced in Alonso's first stint at McLaren when Lewis Hamilton joined the team.

"In F1 it has always been about having the winning recipe," he added. 

"You must have one driver who is focused on the world championship and the other who collects big points, snatching them from rivals.

"Vettel paid for the fact that a very fast boy arrived at the team. It surprised him and the team, as happened at McLaren with Hamilton. 

"Two drivers at the same level in a team eventually risk taking points off each other."

Fernando Alonso returning to Formula One would be an "amazing" prospect, in the view of Alpha Tauri driver Pierre Gasly.

A dramatic week in F1 was kicked off when Sebastian Vettel announced he will leave Ferrari at the end of the 2020 season.

The Scuderia promptly replaced him with Carlos Sainz, whose McLaren seat will be filled by current Renault driver Daniel Ricciardo.

With Mercedes and Red Bull unlikely to move for Vettel, the Renault vacancy is seen as the German's best chance of remaining on the grid if he opts to remain in the sport.

But Alonso has emerged as another candidate for the seat if he can be tempted into a dramatic return.

The Spaniard won his two world championships with Renault in 2005 and 2006.

Now 38, Alonso has not raced in F1 since four unsuccessful years with McLaren ended in 2018, as the team struggled with their Honda engine.

Frenchman Gasly, who earned his first career podium in the penultimate race of the 2019 season in Brazil, is excited by the speculation over Alonso's possible comeback.

He feels a driver of that talent can only benefit F1's appeal and does not think a return is out of the question despite two seasons away.

Gasly told Stats Perform News: "I think with Fernando everything is possible. 

"I think, why not? A world champion, it can only do good to Formula One to bring someone as talented as Fernando on the grid. 

"I think it would be kind of amazing to see him back.

"Who knows what's going to happen? I think it is quite an exciting time for Formula One."

Since leaving F1, Alonso has remained active in motorsport, with appearances in the IndyCar Series, 24 Hours of Le Mans, FIA World Endurance Championship and SportsCar Championship.

He most recently competed in the 2020 Dakar Rally, finishing in 13th position.

In the history of Blackburn Rovers, May 14 is a momentous sporting date.

Twenty-five years ago today, Blackburn sealed the Premier League title on a dramatic afternoon at Anfield.

This date also represents the 14-year anniversary of a famous day in the history of Spanish motorsport, achieved by Formula One great Fernando Alonso.

Here we look back at some of the top moments to occur on May 14 in the world of sport.

 

1995 - Blackburn secure dramatic Premier League title

Blackburn were crowned Premier League champions at Anfield in the most dramatic of circumstances in 1995.

Rovers came into the final day of the season leading title rivals Manchester United, who were playing at West Ham, by two points.

When Alan Shearer scored his 34th league goal of a remarkable season, everything appeared to be going to plan.

However, Liverpool goals from John Barnes and a last-gasp winner from Jamie Redknapp had Rovers fearing their chance of a first English top-flight championship since 1914 had passed them by.

United were piling on the pressure in their match but were unable to snatch a late winner against West Ham that would have seen them win the title, as they were held to a 1-1 draw.

Following the full-time whistle, it took several nervous moments before Blackburn boss Kenny Dalglish and his players got confirmation that the title was theirs, prompting ecstatic scenes.

Given Dalglish's history with Liverpool and the fact their rivals United had been denied, home fans were pretty happy with the outcome as well.

Rovers finished a disappointing seventh when defending their title, after which the departure of the magnificent Shearer to Newcastle United ended their hopes of competing again.

Shearer went on to become the Premier League's record goalscorer but this league title remained the only one he won in his career.

 

2006 - Alonso makes Spanish Grand Prix history

Cheered on by King Juan Carlos and a 130,000-strong crowd at Circuit de Catalunya, Alonso became the first home driver to win the Spanish Grand Prix in 2006.

The Renault star, who would go to win his second Formula One world title that year, qualified in pole position, with team-mate Giancarlo Fisichella joining him on the front row.

Alonso had been forced to settle for second in the previous year's race, but he was not to be denied this time around, building a strong lead and ultimately cruising home ahead of title rival Michael Schumacher.

It was a key moment in the championship battle, given Schumacher had won the previous two grands prix.

"To finish first in front of my people, my supporters, I think was my best feeling so far in a Formula One car," said Alonso, who was then 24.

"The Brazilian Grand Prix where I won the championship [in 2005] - I didn't enjoy it as much as I did here."

Alonso went on to claim one further win at his home race, triumphing in 2013 with Ferrari, as well as winning the 2012 European Grand Prix on home soil in Valencia.

 

2011 - Man City claim FA Cup glory

Manchester City have won 11 major trophies since they were taken over by their Abu Dhabi owners in 2008.

Their four Premier League crowns in that time are the biggest of those, but City fans will fondly remember the first – their 2011 FA Cup crown.

Yaya Toure scored the winner with a powerful strike 16 minutes from time to give City a 1-0 victory over Stoke City at Wembley, with Mario Balotelli named man of the match.

It was the team's first trophy in 35 years, their last having come in the EFL Cup way back in 1976.

This success under Roberto Mancini set them up to win their first Premier League title the following season.

Fernando Alonso indicated a return to Formula One in 2021 is unlikely because of a delay in the introduction of new regulations.

F1 was due to bring in new cars in 2021 to make the sport more competitive and limit the influence of the finances of the respective teams.

However, the coronavirus pandemic, which has seen 10 races of the 2020 season either postponed or cancelled, forced the changes to be pushed back to 2022.

Speaking during an Instagram live session hosted by the 24 Hours of Le Mans account, two-time world champion Alonso said: "It's something that I've been answering since 2018 when I did my last race in Abu Dhabi.

"I wanted to go out a little bit of Formula One because after 18 years of that routine and that pressure on your shoulders, I needed to breathe a little bit out of that environment.

"I always said, look, in 2021, there are new rules in Formula One, I may come [back] because maybe there is more interest and the cars are more balanced, and maybe I'm hungry for traveling again or putting myself in contention.

"It's true that Formula One now delayed the rules to 2022. That's bad news in a way for the sport, because I think they need to balance the cars and they need these new rules as soon as possible.

"But it's a choice that is understandable because with the current situation it was not possible to develop the cars for next year.

"In my personal case, I know more or less what I'm doing next year, and hopefully many of you will know very soon. I cannot say more."

Alonso also dismissed talk of him competing in the IndyCar series for the full season. 

The Spaniard raced in the Indy 500 in 2017, when his hopes were doomed by an engine problem, and he failed to qualify in 2019.

A winner of the World Endurance Championship in 2018-19, Alonso would be the first man to win titles in F1, WEC and IndyCar were he to complete an entire season and emerge as champion.

"I don't think so, that was something that I considered maybe two years ago," Alonso said of that prospect. "When I stopped Formula One I was thinking about what to do next, and obviously winning the WEC championship and the Formula One championship, what if one day I'm IndyCar champion? Not only the 500, trying to win the championship in general.

"That would be unique. That would not be the second man in history, that would be the first man in history, and that was always very appealing.

"But, I don't think so, because the commitment to do that will be too high at this part of my life. I think a few years ago, maybe that was a possibility, but right now, to do 16 or 17 races, to know all the circuits — because they race at Laguna Seca, they race at Mid Ohio, they race at Long Beach — there are circuits that they [IndyCar drivers] know very well for many years, and I don't know. I will require a level of preparation or commitment that maybe at this time in life I'm not happy to take.

"The Indy 500 is already a nice commitment and a long preparation for one race, so I cannot imagine for the whole championship. That would be full dedication. And also there are five ovals, that you need to respect. The Indy 500 is already a risk in a way because the speeds are very high and you take that risk because the reward is very high, but to do the other ovals as well is always a concern for myself."

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