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French GP will start "a new championship" for Alonso

Alpine Formula 1 driver Fernando Alonso says "a new championship" will start for him from mid-June's French Grand Prix while he still gets up to speed after a two-year absence.

Helmet of Fernando Alonso, Alpine A521 with Motorsport Games logo at Monaco GP

Alonso has so far struggled on his F1 comeback after two years out, having been outqualified by Alpine teammate Esteban Ocon in the past four races. Ocon raked in 12 of Alpine's 17 points, with just five points scored by the double world champion.

The Spaniard believes the nature of the 2021 F1 calendar has made the first part of the season harder for him, because he hadn't raced at Imola since 2006 and had never raced before at Portimao, two circuits that were added to the calendar last year.

Those circuits were followed by the challenging street circuits of Monaco, at which Alonso finished 13th, and this weekend's Azerbaijan Grand Prix in Baku, prompting Alonso to suggest that the French Grand Prix at Paul Ricard will feel like a new start for him.

"In a way the start of the season is not the best possible calendar for a newcoming driver," Alonso said. "I had Imola, I had Portimao, two circuits that I was not racing for years or never like in Portimao, and the guys were racing four months ago in the last year championship. And then two street circuits, Baku and Monaco.

"So, [from] the first six races of the championship four were extremely challenging to get used to. From France a new championship hopefully starts for me. But yeah, on the steering side I hope we can get something that I feel a little bit better the balance of the car [with] and more feedback than what I feel now."

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Alonso believes getting on top of Pirelli's tyres will be crucial to performing better in qualifying than he has done so far, saying he needs to a better job of understanding "the variables" of an F1 weekend.

"I think it is a little bit random what do we get. I will not say that it is a luck factor, but there is something that is hidden," he added. "At different times of the weekend some people [are] at the back of the grid in FP2, some people in FP3, some people in Q2.

" So, why all these variables are happening in a weekend, you know? And as I said, it's not down to luck. We need to understand better. But I'm not worried. I've been very strong all weekend in a way, comparing the first weekends. I was happy, and I was strong in the race.

"There's still 18 races to go in the championship and we will do the mathematics in December, not now."

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