MOTORSPORT: Fernando Alonso says he holds no fears about his return to the track where he was involved in a frightening smash in last year's Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park.
Alonso admitted last year he was lucky to be alive after his horrifying smash at turn three that destroyed his McLaren Honda and temporarily stopped the race.
After clipping the rear of Esteban Gutierrez's Haas while trying to pass at high speed, the Spaniard's car launched into the air and flipped twice before coming to rest upside down against a barrier.
Debris was strewn everywhere from the two-time champion's car in one of the scariest accidents seen at Albert Park.
Amazingly, Alonso was able to walk away from the crash.
But Alonso said on Thursday the crash would not be playing on his mind when he got back behind the wheel for the season-opening race at Albert Park on Friday for Formula 1 practice.
"You try always to forget any of the accidents or the moments you scare when you are in the car," Alonso said.
"It was a fairly big one last year, but it will be perfectly okay and I'm really looking forward to going back here.
"I like the circuit, I like how passionate the fans are when we're on the track, so it will be a good experience to go back to those turns."
After walking away from the wreckage last year, Alonso described the fear he experienced while his car was spinning through the air and admitted luck had shined on him in the opening race.
"I'm extremely happy to be here, it was quite a scary crash," Alonso said.
"I'm thankful for the safety of these cars ... I'm alive thanks to the job of the last 10 to 15 years of Formula 1."
A more significant issue for Alonso heading into the opening race in Melbourne is McLaren's struggles after the team battled problems with its Honda engine during pre-season testing.
"There is still a long way to go for us and a lot of work to do," Alonso said. "The team is always working 100% to improve the situation and identify the problems and improve those areas.
"We have only done the testing period so the first race now will put things a bit more clear, because (there's been) a question mark also for us where we exactly are because we were not able to push the car anywhere close to the limit at any lap in testing due to different problems.
"So let's see if we can have a good first weekend and see a little bit more of the potential of the car and see where we are."
Practice 1 11am-12.30pm
Practice 2 3-4.30pm
Practice 3 1-2.30pm
Race 3-5pm (times AEST)
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