Fernando Alonso is returning to the Formula 1 grid after two years out of the sport this season, and is ‘completely fit’ for pre-season testing despite his cycling accident earlier this year, according to his Alpine boss
By Matt Morlidge
Formula 1’s returning two-time world champion Fernando Alonso is in his “best shape” and “completely fit” for testing this weekend despite the injuries he suffered in a cycling accident last month.
Alonso, who is making his eagerly anticipated return to the grid – after two years away – with rebranded team Alpine in 2021, had his F1 preparations rocked in February when he was involved in a collision with a car while training in Switzerland, hospitalised with a fractured upper jaw.
But although Alonso was absent from the launch of his new car, the A521, both he and the team insist he is recovering well from his surgery and will be ready for a crucial three days of testing in Bahrain, starting this Friday.
“I feel great and in the best shape I’ve ever been before both physically and mentally,” said Alonso, 39, who appeared at his team’s launch via video link.
Alpine’s CEO Laurent Rossi then confirmed to reporters: “Fernando is doing very well. He had a bad accident. A bike accident is rarely something that goes easy, but he was lucky and he ended up only suffering from his jaw.
“So besides the necessary surgery and care, the rest is totally fine. Fernando is completely fit. He is totally operational.
“We are even surprised that he’s recovered so quickly. He confirmed to us almost immediately after the incident that he will be in Bahrain, which has been confirmed with his doctors
“It looks like he was right because he’s absolutely fit, and we are looking forward to seeing him next week in the car.”
After Bahrain testing, the season will start at the Sakhir circuit two weeks later on March 28.
Alonso last drove in F1 in 2018 with McLaren, and won his two titles with Renault – who have rebranded as Alpine for this year – in 2005 and 2006.
‘Motivated’, ‘demanding’, ‘determined’: Alonso explained
Alonso has been described as “extremely motivated” and “quite demanding” ahead of his return to the sport, which he says he is making with the hope of returning to the top again – particularly once the big 2022 rule changes kick in.
Alpine’s new racing director Davide Brivio says Alonso “could have had a golden series, but he wanted to get back to the most competitive environment and compete against some of the new talents coming up”.
Expanding on his initial conversations with the Spaniard, Brivio stated: “I feel like he is a very normal guy, just extremely motivated, extremely willing to put together everything necessary to get the best out of the car, the best out of the team.
“Because he’s not coming back just to drive a car. He’s coming back to try to get good results, to get some satisfaction.
“And yes he’s quite demanding, but that’s what I like. We need this type of driver that’s really keen to put everything together to try to get the maximum.”
“I welcome this type of attitude, this type of approach, and of course we will have to try to work together as best as possible in order to use his abilities and his potential.”
Brivio also hailed Alonso as “one of the most determined sportspeople I’ve ever encountered”.
F1 Testing live on Sky Sports F1
New-look cars. New driver and team combinations. And just three days of track testing to get up to speed before the new Formula 1 season begins.
There’s never been a pre-season testing schedule quite like this – and you can watch it all live on Sky Sports F1 from next Friday as Formula 1 2021 gets fully up and running with three days of action in Bahrain.
With coverage starting early morning on March 12 and running through the weekend, Sky F1 will be the place to be to watch the eight hours of live track action from each day – plus a nightly Round-up show and Ted’s Testing Notebook.
Sky F1’s Martin Brundle, David Croft, Ted Kravitz, Rachel Brookes and Karun Chandhok will be out in Bahrain to help tell the story of each day’s track running and all the big stories of pre-season.
Coverage on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday features:
In addition to the Sky F1 channel, subscribers can also watch the live action on their mobile by logging in with their Sky iD on the Sky Sports App.
The Sky Sports website and app will be the place for the live digital blog with updates, timesheets and free-to-view video clips of key incidents and interviews.
You can also follow the latest updates via the Sky F1 social channels.
The new 23-race F1 season begins back in Bahrain on March 26-28, with every race live on Sky Sports F1 – the only place to see the whole season live.