Fernando Alonso has conceded he was not "100 per cent ready" for his F1 comeback at the start of 2021 but is now fully prepared to fight for Alpine next season when the sport enters a new era.
The two-time world champion went through almost a season of preparation with the Enstone and Viry based squad, driving old F1 machinery provided by Renault and working with his future engineers.
But despite the preparation, Alonso was unable to shrug off the effects of a two-year sabbatical in the early stages of the season, with Esteban Ocon often outperforming the Spaniard.
“At the beginning of the year, things were not easy for us in my case,” said Alonso.
“Getting back to the sport I was not 100 per cent ready and confident to push the car to the limit.
“It took a few races until Baku [Azerbaijan GP] probably. We made a few changes in the car, the power steering and the feeling with the front tyres were probably missing most. But we made a huge step forward on that confidence level.”
After growing into the season, Alonso marked his comeback with his first podium since 2014 with third at the Qatar GP eventually finishing 10th in the drivers' standings.
“Overall the season has been fantastic for me,” he added. “Honestly, [I am ] super happy to come back into Formula 1 and I really enjoyed every single race on track but also off track.
“I was happy, I enjoyed every second and this is my best season since 2014 in terms of points and positions, so definitely a good comeback and for sure more prepared for 2022.”