Fernando Alonso has returned to the sort of physical condition that made him a two-time Formula 1 world champion more than ten years ago, according to his long-time trainer and physio Edo Bendinelli.
The 35-year-old Spaniard will enter his 16th campaign in the sport as the third-oldest driver on the grid behind former Ferrari team-mates Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa.
With faster and more physically demanding cars tabled for introduction in 2017, all drivers have been stepping up their fitness preparations over the winter. And Alonso has left no stone unturned in its quest for a third title.
"I can say that Fernando is in his best shape, stronger and more motivated than ever,” Bendinelli told Spanish sports daily AS.
“Fernando's aerobic work in these past years has been good, but now there is more fitness, more weight, more strength needed.
“We’re also focussed on functional training so he can be at the same level as in 2005 and 2006 when he [won his two championships with Renaut].”
Bendinelli adds that Alonso is not showing any lingering signs from his scary crash at the 2016 Australian Grand Prix, which ruled him out of the next race in Bahrain due to collapsed lung and broken ribs.
“No, absolutely nothing. It was significant with his lung, but it is perfect now.”
Alonso now hopes his new challenger - the McLaren-Honda MCL32 - will be equally well prepared, though executive director Zak Brown has already warned that 2018 was a more realistic timeframe to see McLaren return to winning ways.