Renault's recent upturn in form, however, with Ricciardo only out-scored by Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas in the last five races, has whetted Alonso's appetite for 2021 when the team rebrands itself as Alpine.
"I think that when he initially joined the team, and his communication when we announced him, it was very much about 2022," said Abiteboul.
"The season is going well and with the team’s progression, the car progression, the more he starts to be interested in 2021.
"Fernando is like a big shark, as soon as he starts to feel the blood, he wants to attack.
"That’s what I see - I see a shark, very hungry. That would be good to see [in 2021]."
Following his past and future employer Renault from a distance, Alonso is frequently in contact with the trackside team during race weekends.
With the 39-year-old double world champion's enthusiasm raised ahead of his F1 return, Abiteboul added: "The situation is obviously very positive.
"We received a message [from Alonso] before, during and after the race [on Sunday]. You would be impressed to measure his level of interest."
It is interesting how Alonso holds the media in the palm of his hand. He was beaten by the rookie Hamilton and hasn't achieved much since yet you never hear a word of objectivity from the motoring press.
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