In news that’s only just broken, it’s been revealed that Fernando Alonso has been involved in a road accident. The two-time champion, who is set to make his much-publicised return to Formula 1 later this year with the Alpine F1 Team, was cycling in Switzerland when the incident happened.
“Fernando is conscious and well in himself and is awaiting further medical examinations,” reads Alpine’s official statement about the accident. The team went on to state that it will “not make any further statement at this point in time” and that “further updates will be given tomorrow.“
Whilst it’s great to hear that Alonso is very much alive and well, it does raise some concerns about the thirty-nine-year-old’s readiness for the upcoming Formula 1 season. The 2021 season is due to start in only six weeks’ time, leaving a potentially very slim window of recovery. He is set to return to the sport after two years away having last competed in 2018 with the McLaren F1 Team.
If Alonso’s injuries are severe enough that he needs more than those six weeks of recovery time, he won’t be able to take part in pre-season testing or even contest the opening rounds of the 2021 calendar. If somebody needs to stand in for an injured Alonso, there is currently no fully confirmed reserve driver who can step in.
Whilst the team then known as Renault DP World F1 Team did have a reserve driver last year in the form of ex-Williams Racing driver Sergey Sirotkin, there are no indications as of yet about whether he is continuing in that role for 2021. Other former Renault drivers who may be available include the likes of Nico Hülkenberg, Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen.
Alpine is expected to unveil its new F1 car, the Alpine A521, at a launch event early in March. The first running of the car is due to take place on 12 March during pre-season testing at Bahrain.