He might already be a double world champion in the sport, and he might have been oft-criticised this season for an uncharacteristically high number of errors, but Fernando Alonso has described F1 2010 as 'the best year of my career so far', regardless of whether he clinches a third drivers' crown or not.
Heading into the inaugural Korean Grand Prix in Yeongam County, Alonso lies joint-second in the title standings with Red Bull Racing rival Sebastian Vettel, 14 points adrift of the young German's team-mate Mark Webber and having triumphed in two of the last three races in Italy and Singapore.
Indeed, since the resumption of hostilities following the four-week mid-summer break, the Spaniard has been the man on the move full-stop, tallying 65 points to 59 and 55 respectively for Webber and Vettel, and just 42 and 35 for McLaren-Mercedes pairing Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton, who similarly both remain in contention to lift the laurels.
However, despite bidding to add to his 2005 and 2006 world championship successes with Renault during his maiden campaign of competition with Ferrari, Alonso reflects that even if he ultimately misses out on glory this time, it will still have been a magnificent experience.
“For me personally, it's been a great 2010 championship driving for a new team,” the 29-year-old affirmed. “From day one, there has been great integration with Ferrari. I've felt very comfortable. It has been the best year of my career so far, a great experience and I'm very happy.
“We will see how it ends this year, but in terms of happiness, motivation, driving, the team itself, it's my best season. Obviously it would be nice to become champion this year, but if we cannot do it I will still have great memories of 2010.
"With three races remaining, we will do our best to arrive in Abu Dhabi still in the fight. We've made some good steps forward in the last five-to-six races, so it should be an exciting last few races, hopefully making the most of every weekend.”
Palpably in ebullient spirits and bullish about his prospects ahead of F1's trip into the great unknown this weekend, the Oviedo native went on to offer his initial thoughts about the much-derided, $275 million, 5.62km Korea International Circuit.
“I think they did a very good job with getting everything ready,” he opined. “I think it is 99 per cent ready, so it will be a good show this weekend. It is always nice also from a driver's point-of-view coming to a new circuit, and it seems to be a very interesting [layout], which should be fun to drive, especially the final sector. It is a new challenge for us, and a new country is always very welcome in the championship, so [I'm] looking forward to the race here.”