F1: Alonso heads out for run ahead of return
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Two-time Formula One world champion Fernando Alonso has returned to training after nearly a week of rest following a serious cycling accident earlier this month. The 39-year-old suffered a fractured jaw as a result of the incident, which took place near his home in Lugano, Switzerland.
Alonso was knocked down by a car that was attempting to turn into a supermarket car park, leaving the F1 icon’s plans for the upcoming campaign in doubt.
However, he is expected to recover in time for the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix on March 28, with Alonso set to make his long-awaited return to the grid after a two-year absence.
He was rushed to hospital after the unfortunate incident and promptly underwent reconstructive surgery to correct the fracture, before he was released last Monday with his condition firmly on the mend.
Alonso has since taken to social media to confirm his return to training, posting photos on Twitter of himself hard at work in the gym with just over a month until the lights go out for the first time in 2021.
The Spaniard has penned a two-year deal with Alpine, formerly known as Renault, to race alongside Esteban Ocon as the French outfit chase a return to their former glories.
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Alonso scooped two consecutive Drivers’ Championship titles with Renault in 2005 and 2006, becoming the youngest driver at the time to take F1’s top prize.
His record was surpassed by German star Sebastian Vettel in 2010, who stormed to a maiden title win at just 23 years and 134 days old.
As he prepares to make a welcome return to the F1 paddock, Alonso is hopeful of a positive campaign with Alpine, who sealed a fifth-placed finish last year with a 50-point advantage over fallen giants Ferrari.
He told the Official Formula 1 Magazine earlier this month that he is not going into the new season with specific expectations, but expressed his desire to fight for points on a regular basis.
“I didn’t start thinking about that yet, I think we are too early into preparations,” said Alonso. “Maybe after the winter test you can imagine or dream about the first race and where you can be. Right now, I didn’t have any thoughts about that.
“Realistically, we have to have our feet on the ground, knowing that even if there are some changes for this year, they are not dramatic, so performance will not be too different compared to last year.
“I think Mercedes will be in front of everybody, then there will be Red Bull and there will be a close fight between a few teams. Alpine will be within that group of teams and that will be interesting to see who adapts better to the new regulations.
“I think it will be very tight, so we could be fighting for sixth or seventh on the grid or it could be 15th very easily. Our job is to be at least fighting for the top ten.”
Alonso has raced for the likes of Ferrari, McLaren and Minardi as well as Renault over the course of his illustrious F1 career.
He took part in the French team’s post-season testing campaign at Abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina Circuit in December in preparation for the new season.
The veteran is one Indy 500 win short of achieving the fabled ‘Triple Crown’ of motorsport, having already occupied the top step of the podium at both the Monaco Grand Prix and the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
His best finish in the famous event at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway came last year as he claimed 21st place.
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