Fernando Alonso has stressed that the injuries suffered during his cycling accident will not affect him during the upcoming Formula 1 season.
Alonso was hospitalised in February following a collision with a car which left him with a fractured jaw and broken teeth.
He had successful jaw surgery, but he will still need to have two titanium plates removed at some point in the future.
Two-time World Champion Alonso is not willing for that to get in the way of his return to Formula 1, though, as he will be fit and ready to race for Alpine after two years out of the sport.
Speaking in the FIA press conference in Bahrain on Friday, Alonso said: “I don’t expect any issues, honestly. I’ve been training for three weeks or two weeks, absolutely normal. I’ve been in the simulator as well Monday and Tuesday.
“The preparations were not affected too much. I missed only a couple of marketing days and filming days which I was happy [about] in a way! I recovered everything yesterday afternoon, so I had a very intense day yesterday on marketing activities.
“But I feel fine. One thing is the professional side and driving side which I’m at 100%.
“On the personal side, I will have to remove two titanium plates that I have on the upper jaw, which I will get removed I think at the end of the season.
“But it will not be affecting my professional life.”
Instant debrief 👍 pic.twitter.com/dBIX5mMffG
— Alpine F1 Team (@AlpineF1Team) March 12, 2021
So it seems Alonso’s sole focus for the next nine months or so will be on his on-track performance, and he says he does not “fear any particular challenge”, but he is aware that Alpine – formerly Renault – have work to do.
He said: “How the midfield is right now, it is very competitive, and it’s something that we are aware of.
“We need to maximise and we need to make perfection every weekend if we want to score good points.
“Then another challenge, but not only for me, is going to be for everybody in the team, and everybody in the paddock, will be the 23 races.
“We have to try to save energy when you can during the year, even in June, August, September, even if you feel fresh, the more you save the better you will be in November, December.
“There are a couple of things that after being two years out, I will have to relearn a little bit and get used to, but in terms of driving or approaching the weekend working with the team I think it should be quite smooth.
“I was not at home for two years. I was racing every weekend, basically, so it should be fine.”