Fernando Alonso says his Indianapolis 500 preparation has offered a "reset" amid McLaren-Honda's troubled start to the 2017 Formula 1 season.
Alonso flew to the USA last weekend to visit IndyCar's race at Barber Motorsports Park, before heading to Andretti Autosport's base in Indianapolis and sampling Honda's simulator.
He will test on an oval for the first time next Wednesday, May 3, after this weekend's Russian Grand Prix, and Alonso said it was proving a good distraction from McLaren-Honda's current woes.
"I think in a way it helps in terms of learning new things," he said.
"You reset a little bit your mind, and you are again a rookie in a sense, so you start learning things and being very open to engineer discussions and things like that, and driving techniques in a simulator to gain 0.1 or 0.2mph in a lap.
"It requires very small differences in lines, and things like that.
"That is quite new and quite interesting, so the two weeks from Bahrain to here, instead of thinking and rethinking about the disappointment of Bahrain and things like that, I have been very busy there.
"So you arrive here with a motivation to do well here, hopefully finish in the race, hopefully score the first points of the season.
"But definitely the days between races are quite busy now so it is good for the head."
Alonso is yet to finish a grand prix so far this year, and the Sochi layout is expected to continue to punish Honda's underperforming power unit.
However the Spaniard insists the prospect of getting back to his day job "is not too difficult".
"You know the routine here," he said.
"You know the car, you know how to push to the limit, you know the tyres, all the improvements we have for this race, all the things that you talk with the engineers, the strategy meetings, everything's just normal, so it's like a normal day.
"So it's not difficult at all to jump in the car tomorrow and give 100% after lap three or lap four.
"The big challenge is to go back [to the USA] next week, and drive fast there.
"I'm looking forward to it, it's a good test for myself as well, it's what is really motivating."