Alpine special advisor Alain Prost says he isn't surprised by the time it's taking for Fernando Alonso to get fully up to speed with the French outfit, as he compared the Spaniard's F1 comeback to his own return to the grid with Williams in 1993.
The 39-year-old Alonso has admitted that he is still in the process of settling in with Alpine following his two-year hiatus from the sport.
The two-time world champion enjoyed his best result year-to-date in Baku where he finished sixth and hopes that his performance will move further forward from next weekend as F1 returns to more conventional tracks.
But Prost is hardly surprised by Alonso's relative struggles this season.
"I’m not surprised that he needs to have time," Prost said, speaking to F1's Tom Clarkson on this week's F1 Nation podcast. "It takes time. The simulator is good, but it’s more inside the car [where you need to get comfortable].
"And the physical condition, what we call more the physiology, the stomach, the whole body, the vision, the head – and don’t forget he had also the bike accident so you don’t know the effect that could have, so I was a little bit worried.
"He’s getting better and better," added the four-time world champion. "But still not completely at the top in my opinion.
"He knows that and we expect that [he’ll perform better at] the French Grand Prix, where it’s a different track, a wider circuit he knows well. So we’ll see, but I’m not surprised that it takes a little bit of time."
Prost inevitably recalled his own F1 comeback in 1993 that followed his firing from Ferrari in 1991 and a sabbatical the following year.
The Frenchman remembered that he was left with more questions than answers after his first test with Williams in Portugal in 1992.
"When I came back in Portugal, I asked myself why I came back!" he said. "That was a shock physically, mentally.
"I was really, really fit… unbelievably fit – I had 5% [fat] on my body. But when I came in September with a really fit condition to [test] the Formula 1, I felt completely lost.
"That means that everything you do outside [the car] is important, but it’s not as important as all the work inside Formula 1, all the muscles that you’re training, they are different muscles, all the physiology, the vision and everything, you cannot train that outside."
Prost would go on to win his final world title in 1993 with Williams, winning seven of the championship's 16 races that year.