Fernando Alonso believes he is a more complete and competent driver today than when he left Formula 1 more than two years ago, and says the cycling accident will not affect preparations for the new F1 season.
After a difficult four seasons at McLaren (2015-2018) in which he failed to finish the race above fifth place, Alonso decided to take a break from the fastest sport in the world and turned to new challenges.
In two years, Alonso competed in the IndyCar, LMP1 category of the WEC Championship with Toyota with which he won the championship and two 24h Le Mans races and competed in both the 24h Daytona and the Dakar Rally.
The Spaniard believes that his experience in other racing series has enriched him and that he is returning to Formula 1 better than ever, although he will turn 40 on July 29 – only Raikkonen is older than him among active F1 drivers with 41 years.
“I became a more complete driver,” Alonso said.
“When you push yourself towards new limits you are constantly learning, when you are outside your comfort zone.”
“Without a doubt, I’m a more competent driver now than I was two years ago. But I want to improve even more as a driver.”
“I’ve learned a lot in the last two years outside of this sport and I want to consolidate that knowledge and apply it in Formula 1.”
“For example, from different racing philosophies, driving techniques to approaches to work ethic.”
“As for the results, it’s hard to predict.”
“Last year the midfield was extremely tight so anything can happen this year.”
Last year, Alonso did a filming day in Barcelona in last year’s Renault R.S.20 and a day of testing in Abu Dhabi after the last race of the season where he also tested the R.S.20.
In addition, he also tested the 2018 Renault R.S.18 in Bahrain with no mileage restrictions to get used to the exceptional physical demands of driving an F1 car.
“I think every driver needs three or four races to optimize everything on a new car, maybe a little more if you’re changing teams or you’re new to Formula 1,” he said.
“To be at 100% speed you’ll need at least the first two races, but it’s the same for everyone.”
“I had a small setback with the cycling accident a few weeks ago, but luckily it won’t affect my preparations and my physical fitness. I’m ready.”