Alpine special advisor Alain Prost has warned Fernando Alonso may still be feeling the effects of his pre-season cycling accident as he struggles to get up to speed on his F1 return.
The Spanish driver was hit by a car in mid-February during training ahead of his comeback from a two-year hiatus from F1, affecting his boot camp preparations.
Four-time champion Prost suggested this could be one of a multitude of factors behind Alonso's slower-than-anticipated start to 2021.
"It takes time," Prost told the F1 Nation podcast. "The simulator is good but it is more inside the car.
"Physical condition, the old body, the vision and the head and also remember the bike accident, you don't know what effect that can have so I was a little bit worried.
"He is getting better and better but he is still not completely at the top in my opinion. He knows that. I am not surprised it takes a little bit of time."
Prost left "completely lost" after time out of F1
Prost himself is no stranger to returning from an absence from F1 after missing the 1992 campaign after being dropped by Ferrari for the season finale in 1991.
The Frenchman returned in 1993 for Williams but explained: “When I came back in Portugal, I asked myself why I came back. That was a shock physically, mentally.
“I was really, really fit, unbelievably fit – I had 5% [fat] on my body but when I came in September with a really fit condition to [test] the Formula 1, I felt completely lost.
“That means that everything you do outside is important, but it’s not as important as all the work inside Formula 1, all the muscles that you’re training, they are different muscles, all the physiology, the vision and everything, you cannot train that outside.”
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