The two-time F1 world champion sustained a fracture of his upper jaw in a pre-season crash while training on his bicycle ahead of his comeback season in February this year. 

Speaking to select media including Crash.net after wrapping up post-season tyre testing duties for Alpine, Alonso confirmed that he will have another operation in January to have his titanium plates removed. 

“I’m closer than 10 months ago,” Alonso replied when asked how close he was to performing at his peak. 

“Difficult to know the limit and where we could get next year. I think we need a good winter, that’s for sure, I need to be prepared, to get ready a little bit better than last year; the cycle accident in February didn’t help. 

“This January I will have to remove the plates from [my] face so I will have two weeks in January off but probably I had those weeks anyway without the surgery as it’s just time to relax.

“But after that we need to go into winter testing with a good programme physically, and also in the car, and get ready. And if the car is competitive, I’m sure I will be at 100 per cent.”

Following a two-year hiatus from F1, the 40-year-old Spaniard ended his first season back in the sport 10th in the championship. Alonso scored a total of 81 points and claimed his first podium since 2014 at the Qatar Grand Prix. 

“There’s always a few things we are still not on top of, the problems, but everyone will have a different opinion and that’s why we have different roles in the team,” he admitted. 

“I’m a driver, I try and drive as fast as I can, obviously with experience and working for different teams I could see some things that we were weak, other areas we were very strong, and you try always to make the team stronger and stronger and more prepared into 2022.

“I think we are in a better shape now than where we were in March, in Bahrain, but still a few things we have to fix.

“But more important is if the car is fast in February and that is an unknown situation for everybody.”