Fernando Alonso says that drivers attempting a Formula 1 comeback shouldn’t underestimate the challenge it presents.
Alonso departed a full-time F1 role at the end of 2018 following a difficult period with McLaren, taking on driving positions in other categories.
He made a return to F1 in 2021 with Alpine, and noted at the time that it took several races before he was feeling comfortable back in the cockpit.
A number of other drivers have also made comebacks after years on the sidelines, with Alexander Albon being the most recent example.
Nico Hulkenberg will also step back into a full-time F1 drive next year after sitting out two seasons.
Daniel Ricciardo and Mick Schumacher will not race in F1 next year and have taken on roles with Red Bull and Mercedes respectively as they hope to return to the grid in 2024.
But Alonso says that coming back to F1 after a period away from the cars poses a significant challenge to drivers.
“Coming back to the sport is never a guarantee that you will be okay and competitive and you still enjoy everything in Formula 1,” Alonso said.
“So I had some concerns, obviously, two years ago, when I did the demo here [in the Renault R25], before the Young Driver test in 2020.
“I think last year it was not maybe 100 per cent happy with the performance and with how the season went.
“This year, I’m much more happy with the car and with the performance itself and much more I think ready for the next challenge.
“So, you cannot underestimate coming back to the sport – in case Seb [Vettel, who retired at the end of the 2022 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix] wants some advice.
“You need a few races or even one full season to feel 100 per cent again and that is what happened to me but I’m happy now that I feel a very good level.”
After two seasons with Alpine, Alonso has departed the French squad to link up with Aston Martin alongside Lance Stroll for 2023.
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