Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen warned to expect 'new' Fernando Alonso upon F1 return

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    “There has always been this link and we felt that it was the right thing to do. With 2022, I hope the sport will have made a step forward in competitiveness and a more fair grid with the cost cap and the new rules will bring more action on track but more of a level field on the times.

    “All these ingredients were on the table when I made the decision, with COVID-19 and the situation in the world, a company like Renault is committed to supporting an F1 project and it’s very important. There are not many teams who have that safety in the future.

    “The mood that I have is to come back and enjoy it. Obviously when we close the visor, we aim for the win. Every championship you start, inside you there is some fire for winning. You need that to motivate yourself to work every day.

    “There are many things off track that you have to be motivated for, you have to have a clear target on track. Winning is always going to be a target because I’m a very competitive person.

    “But I think enjoying myself, driving these cars, having fun over the weekend will be a key part. Probably a new Fernando is coming, after one year-and-a-half, I’ve grown up as a person as everybody does.

    “As a driver as well, different driving styles in different categories, different needs, endurance is extreme team effort so that was very nice to share with the team. Dakar is a survival race, it’s not only a motorsport race, it’s a human challenge.

    “All those things were very beneficial in this year-and-a-half and I come back stronger than ever. I’m calm and I’m happy with everything that’s happening. I’m thankful.

    “I will try to enjoy it, I’ll try to make the most of it, I’ll try to be as fast as I can and making life not easy for our opponents.”

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