The big news of Formula 1 in 2021 will be the return of one of its most respected champions in history, Fernando Alonso. The Asturian, once his adventure in Indianapolis is over and without any competition outside the Great Circus on the horizon, is already 100% concentrated to show that at 39 years old he is still fully empowered to return to the championship that made him a legend.
It is not a way of speaking: is preparing better than ever. Both physically and mentally, this Alonso is very different from the one who left the World Championship in 2018 with some ‘donuts’ at the Abu Dhabi GP, escorted by Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel.
From the moment he left the United States after his disappointing third visit to the Indy oval, Alonso has concentrated on getting his pulse back in Formula 1. He was obviously already following the World Championship, but now he maintains a direct line with the engineers of the sede in Enstone, which from next year will host the team Alpine, the sports brand with which the Renault group wants to enhance its quality leap in sport.
It is no coincidence that Alonso is on the lookout for development work on the 2021 car. One of its new functions, in addition to being a driver, is putting all his technical and preparation knowledge at the service of the team, improved in these years after learning from the Endurance cars, a contest of which he has also become world champion with two 24 hours of Le Mans won to his credit, and in the Dakar. Alonso’s return is very reminiscent of Schumacher’s when he signed for Mercedes, and that is the mirror in which the French team looks for the near future.
A lot of bike, a lot of gym … and a simulator
Thanks to the fact that his exit from Formula 1 allowed him to have much more time, he has been able to recover his passion for cycling, which he never completely abandoned, and has given himself real beatings, both in Asturias where he spent the confinement, and at his home in Switzerland, where he is now.
That is why the Alonso of now is much finer than that of years ago. Although he will recover it, by necessity, in his last images he looks much thinner, and he no longer has that ‘bull neck’ so characteristic. The needs of Formula 1, with very high ‘G’ forces, will force him to regain muscle, but the truth is that now he seems more like a climber cyclist (he is passionate about mountain biking and is capable of doing 200 kilometers on pedals until arriving at the Santina) that a Formula 1 pilot to use.
For regain muscle mass he will pound himself in the gym he has at home. Alonso is passionate about physical preparation, and already during confinement to prepare for Indianapolis, he created a specific exercise table with his trusted physio (who is also his brother-in-law), Edoardo Bendinelli, which is also helping him get ready on this final stretch back to Formula 1.
Not everything will be getting ready physically, but also work in the simulator, something that will have two aspects: on the one hand to help him regain F1 sensations again and on the other to develop the car for next year.
Alonso will return to the paddock in 2020
Since it was announced that he was returning to Renault, it was speculated that this year he could be seen competing in a Grand Prix. The more adventurous even spoke of the Austrian appointment, when it had not even been announced, but nothing further.
Alonso’s intention is to visit the team ‘in situ’ towards the end of the calendar. The objective is not only to ‘loosen up’ the memories, but to see directly the work of the team with which she will compete next year and the next three.
“I do not plan go to an F1 race to Imola, which is the end of October. In the meantime I will do a simulator day at the Renault factory and the rest, to be calm and physically prepare. A Bahrein y Abu Dhabi I will also try to get closer because it is already the final stretch of the World Championship and I want to see the team work live, although my contact with the engineers is constant. I follow the races and the meetings from home, “he recently confessed in an interview in ‘El Mundo’.
If he meets the scheduled dates, Alonso will be in the baptized as GP of Emilia Romagna, on November 1, and then to one (or both) races in Bahrain, on November 29 and December 6, in addition to the last one in Abu Dhabi, on December 13.