Fernando Alonso has confirmed he is “ready to go” despite his recent cycling accident – and returns to F1 a more “complete” driver.
Following a frustrating second spell with McLaren, Alonso left Formula 1 at the end of 2018 to pursue his interests in other forms of motorsport.
And the Spaniard certainly cast his net wide over the past two seasons, featuring in Le Mans, Daytona, the Indy 500 and even making his debut in the Dakar Rally, an event he would like to win if he returns to it in the future.
In the meantime, Alonso has very much returned his focus to Formula 1 and for the 2021 season he makes his comeback with Alpine, a team he knows very well having won both of his World Championships with the Enstone outfit back in 2005 and 2006 when they were known as Renault.
However, his off-season took a turn for the worse following a cycling crash which left him needing surgery on a broken jaw.
But Alonso has assured he is “ready to go” and the accident has not impacted his comeback preparations.
“I normally think it takes every driver on the grid three or four races to optimise everything on a new car, maybe a bit more if you change teams or if you are new to F1,” he said in an Alpine Q and A.
“To be 100 per cent up to speed it can take at least the first couple of races, but it’s the same for everyone.
“I also had a small setback with a bike accident a few weeks ago, but luckily the preparation and my fitness will not be impacted and I’m ready to go.”
And after spending time in various different categories during his Formula 1 hiatus, Alonso was clear he returns as a more “complete” and “competent” driver compared to when he left in 2018.
“I became a more complete driver. You constantly learn when you push yourself to new limits and when you are out of your comfort zone,” Alonso added.
“Without a doubt, I’m a more competent driver now than two years ago. [But] I want to improve even more as a driver.
“I took a lot of learnings from the last two years away from the sport and I want to consolidate these and apply them in F1.
“For example, different philosophies of racing, driving techniques and approaches to work ethic.
“In terms of results [for 2021] it’s so difficult to predict. Last year the midfield pack was very close, so this year anything can happen.”