Two-time world champion Fernando Alonso says he is in “the best shape I’ve ever been” ahead of his return to Formula 1, despite fracturing his jaw in a recent cycling accident.

Alonso’s preparations for his F1 comeback this year with the rebranded Alpine squad were disrupted when he was hit by a car while training on his bike last month in Switzerland.

The Spaniard suffered a broken jaw and needed to have corrective surgery on his injury, though he insists his fitness has not been impacted.

“I feel great and in the best shape I’ve ever been before both physically and mentally,” said Alonso. “I’ve been preparing myself for this comeback for quite a while now and I have a fresh motivation. I’m ready!

“I normally think that 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.

“To be 100% up to speed it can take at least the first couple of races, but it is the same for everybody. 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.”

Alpine CEO Laurent Rossi stressed that Alonso, who was excused from the team’s launch of its 2021 F1 car on Tuesday due to coronavirus-related travel restrictions, is “totally operational” and will take part in pre-season testing in Bahrain next week.

"Fernando is doing very well," Rossi said. "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 on his jaw, 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 here 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.”

Alpine executive director Marcin Budkowski said the team’s priority was to provide Alonso with the time he required to fully recover from his accident in time for the new campaign.

"It's really about giving him the best chance of fully recovering for the beginning of the season,” he explained.

"It's more important to have him completely fit in time for the test in Bahrain than having him here for the launch, or having him actually driving the car tomorrow for the shakedown.

"On top of that, when you have restrictions, and someone is recovering from an accident and you have restrictions on travel and quarantine etc, it's not the best situation.

"So let's keep Fernando 100%, give him time for recovery and have him fit for Bahrain testing."

 

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