Fernando Alonso has admitted that he felt worried during the immediate aftermath of his pre-season cycling accident, with his concern being that he could face further delays to his F1 return.
The Spaniard is making his comeback to the sport in 2021 with Alpine following two years away. However, his preparations were slightly knocked when he was involved in a road cycling accident in February. Alonso suffered a broken jaw and will race this year with two metal plates in his jaw as a result, but he feels fortunate that there were not any further complications.
"I was lucky," Alonso told BBC Sport. "I tell you that I was worried in the moment that it happened, because I've been waiting all the second part of last year, and obviously you are preparing for this year's team presentation and the first test, etc.
"And then suddenly you find yourself in a hospital after a bike accident, and you don't know how long it's going to take to recover. Luckily the first answer from the doctor was that in one week or 10 days I should be ready to go.
"I had to stay at home [for] one week with not much activity, but after that I was perfectly fine, so it will not be compromised at all, my season, and as I said I feel lucky."
Alonso was forced to miss Alpine's team launch earlier in March whilst continuing his recovery, but appeared as motivated as ever at the pre-season test in Bahrain.
The 39-year-old set the pace during his first run in the car on the second day, though remained cautiously optimistic about the car's performance, stating that it "felt good" but that there was "still some work to do".
Alonso will line up alongside new teammate Esteban Ocon at the opening race in Bahrain on 28 March.