Fernando Alonso will make a return to the grid after a brief gap, but the Spaniard believes he is a better driver than the likes of Lewis Hamilton, Max Verstappen and Sebastian Vettel.
Alonso decided to quit the sport at the end of the 2018 season to pursue other racing endeavours. He competed at the World Endurance Championship and the Dakar Rally.
However, he soon felt the urge to return to the pinnacle of motorsport racing. Alpine has allowed him the opportunity to do so.
It is worth noting that the Enstone based team is the same one that he tasted the ultimate success with, lifting both the 2005 and 2006 world championships with them.
He did, in many ways, halt the dominance of the legendary Michael Schumacher and Ferrari.
Although it has been a while since he has been in a competitive F1 sport, Alonso insisted that he is more than ready to get going.
“It is going to be great. I am looking forward [to it]. There are some young, talented guys that have been showing great performance in the younger categories and then we still have the champions,” he said.
“They were here two years ago with Lewis, Sebastian, Kimi, Verstappen, even if he is one of the young ones and the younger generation, he has been racing at the top level already for four years, five years.
“I think we have a really competitive grid and it is going to be a challenge to beat everyone on track.”
He was then asked if he believes he is still good enough to compete against the best in the business.
He didn’t take much time before answering, “No. I am better”.
While Alonso has a lot of confidence in his abilities, he said he was realistic about the chances he has with Alpine, at least for this year.
He conceded that race wins and podium finishes may be beyond them for the time being, but did say that the radical aerodynamic changes to be implemented in 2022 could bring him back into contention.
“I’m back in Formula 1 with the aim of doing well obviously, and the aim of having the chance to win races – hopefully, to fight for championships.
“We understand that this year it is not going to be possible because the regulations are a little bit different but basically the same as the previous year so I don’t see any miracle happening there.
“But I think in 2022 there is a chance with the new regulations of mixing a little bit the order of the grid and we want to be one of those teams that surprises everybody. To do that we need to work hard during this year.”