One of many talking points this season is sure to be the return of two-time world champion Fernando Alonso, and the Spaniard can’t wait to go racing again.
However, as he went about trying to emulate Graham Hill in achieving motor sport’s Triple Crown, it was clear that for the Spaniard F1 remained unfinished business.
Persuaded to return to the fray, with the team with which he won his two titles, Alonso believes he is a more complete and competent driver these days.
“I became a more complete driver,” he insists. “You constantly learn when you push yourself to new limits and when you are out of your comfort zone.
“Without a doubt, I’m a more competent driver now than two years ago,” he adds. “But I want to improve even more as a driver.
“I took a lot of learnings from the last two years away from the sport,” he continues, “and I want to consolidate these and apply them in F1. For example, different philosophies of racing, driving techniques and approaches to work ethic.
“In terms of results it’s so difficult to predict,” he admits. “Last year the midfield pack was very close so this year anything can happen.”
Other than a certain amount of anticipated ‘ring rust’, the Spaniard’s preparations weren’t helped by the cycling accident which left him with a fractured (upper) jaw.
“I normally think that it takes every driver on the grid three or four races to optimise everything on a new car, maybe a bit more if you change teams or if you are new to F1,” he says. “To be 100 per cent up to speed it can take at least the first couple of races, but it is the same for everybody.
“I also had a small setback with a bike accident a few weeks ago,” he admits, “but luckily the preparation and my fitness will not be impacted and I’m ready to go.”