Fernando Alonso has insisted that his age, and spell out of Formula 1, will have no impact on his performance when he returns to the championship in 2021.
It was confirmed on Wednesday that Alonso, who was last on the grid in November 2018, will return to Renault on a multi-year deal next season.
Since departing Formula 1 he has remained active in WEC, IMSA, the Dakar Rally and next month will undertake a third attempt at the Indianapolis 500.
Alonso turns 39 later this month and will be one of the oldest drivers on the Formula 1 grid next year.
Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen, 40, is the current eldest representative while reigning champion Lewis Hamilton, 35, is the second-oldest.
“I saw Formula 1 for many years, the stopwatch is the only thing that matters,” he said. “Not the age.
“I never had a classification on the race based on the passport’s date of birth, always on the stop watch.”
Alonso will be the first driver to mount a full-time Formula 1 comeback since Raikkonen, who sat out the 2010 and 2011 seasons, between spells at Ferrari and Lotus.
“Look I think last year, especially, it was a very, very active season,” he said.
“This year it is the same for everyone, Formula 1 did one race in Austria, I did a three-week race in Dakar, the world had stopped for several months so we are all in the same conditions.
“I think last year between all the endurance racing, IMSA, WEC, Dakar preparation, I was behind a steering wheel nearly every week of the year.
“I feel ready and I feel that I’m at 100 per cent in terms of driving, physically as well, I had to rebuild my body, I had to start very specific fitness preparation, I think we started in February, so now I’m 100 per cent.
“We did a couple of fitness tests 15 days ago and I had the best results ever in my career so I’m extremely motivated, happy, and stronger than ever.”