Mercedes boss hopes ‘robbed’ Lewis Hamilton will continue racing
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Alpine driver Fernando Alonso has warned the likes of Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen that he will be a force to be reckoned with next season, after admitting his 2021 pre-season plans were marred by a biking accident. The two-time world champion suffered a fractured jaw and needed two titanium plates fitted after he was knocked down by a car turning into a supermarket in February this year.
Alpine admitted he would “have a short period of complete rest before progressively resuming training” after he was discharged from hospital in Switzerland.
Pre-season testing began in Bahrain on March 12, with the 2021 season’s opening race following at the same venue on March 28, something Alonso felt hampered his come-back preparations.
“I was planning to have a different preparation next year, but not because the car will be different because I think the cars will be very similar in terms of driving and forces and lap times, et cetera, but just because this winter, I couldn’t do a proper preparation after the bike accident,” explained Alonso.
“I was just counting the days to go to Bahrain and it was just on time to go to Bahrain, but not with a proper physical programme, so this winter, I want to do it a little bit more.”
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However, Alonso still has to undergo surgery in January after the crash.
“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 off anyway even without the surgery because it’s just time to relax,” he said.
“But after that, we need to go into winter testing with a good programme, physically and also in the car. And if the car is competitive, I’m sure I will be 100 per cent”
Alonso returns in 2022 as the most experienced driver on the grid but is also now the oldest at 40 after Kimi Raikkonen announced his retirement from Formula One this year.
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After a two year hiatus from F1, Alonso finished 10th in the driver standings, picking a third-place finish in Qatar, but with younger drivers like 21-year-old Lando Norris and 24-year-old George Russell making waves on the grid, the Spaniard admits he will have to make “more sacrifices” to keep up.
“Obviously, I don’t train the same now that I [am] 40 than when I was 23.
“You have to train more, you have to stretch more, you have to have a different food routine, you have to do many other things to be at the same shape and with the same strength.
“I’m ready to do so, that’s why I came back as well. There are more sacrifices to do, but that’s the plan for this winter.
“I will be as strong as I can and I know that I will have to train and I will have to do more than other drivers because yes, I’m older than them.”
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