Fernando Alonso has confirmed he will be out of action for two weeks in January following surgery to remove titanium plates fitted to his jaw after a pre-season cycling incident earlier this year.
Alonso was involved in a collision with a car while on a training ride in Switzerland in February, leading to a fracture of his upper jaw.
After racing successfully throughout his comeback season in F1 with Alpine, Alonso will now have the required additional operation early in the new year before beginning his 2022 preparations.
"The accident in February with the bicycle didn't help last year," Alonso told a media briefing including GPFans.
“This January, I will have to remove the plates from my face, so I will have two weeks
off in January.
"Probably I would have had those weeks anyway, even without the surgery, because it's just time to relax."
After a two-year sabbatical away from F1, Alonso took time to get back into the groove before standing on the podium in the third-last race of the season in Qatar.
Asked how close he finished the season to being 'peak Fernando' that achieved title success with Renault in 2005 and 2006, the Spaniard replied: “I'm closer than 10 months ago.
"[It is] Difficult to know when is the limit and where we could get next year.
“We need a good winter, that's for sure. I need to be prepared or to get ready a little bit better than last year."