Fernando Alonso was back behind the wheel of a Formula 1 car in a pre-season test for the first time since 2018 on Saturday, with the Spaniard not letting his recent cycling crash affect him as he tackled the Bahrain International Circuit with the Alpine F1 Team.
Just last month, Alonso suffered injuries in a crash in Switzerland that resulted in the Spaniard having metal plates placed in his jaw, plates that will stay there until the end of the season when he’ll face further surgery to have them removed.
Despite this, Alonso completed one hundred and twenty-eight laps on Saturday after taking over driving duties for the day from team-mate Esteban Ocon. He focused on short runs in the morning before switching his attention to longer runs in the afternoon.
His best lap of 1:32.339 was good enough for second quickest in the morning, but improvements in the afternoon coupled with his focus on race simulations meant he slipped to tenth in the overall standings come the end of the day.
“We completed a lot of laps today and followed the programme that was planned so that is good, but we need to sit down now and analyse everything,” said Alonso. “The car did feel good today, but I think we still need to understand the characteristics of the new aero package a bit better.
“We ran with the harder compounds today and we have more running to do tomorrow, so between myself and Esteban we will aim to collect even more data and fine tune the overall package.”
The final day of testing takes place on Sunday, with Alonso and Ocon both having half a day each in the A521. It will be the last chance to test before the season gets underway at the same circuit at the end of this month.