Alonso committed and ready to help Mclaren-honda fight back, and even suggests it will be his last F1 team
It’s been a tricky last year, but there’s not an F1 sabbatical in sight for Fernando Alonso.
The Spaniard is a committed Mclaren-honda driver for both this year and beyond, despite more than a few rocky moments last season.
Alonso was outspoken about Mclaren-honda’s terrible 2015 campaign, referring to the team’s performances as “embarrasing” and having “a GP2 engine” across the course of last season. It led to speculation he could be on the verge of quitting the team, and probably F1 altogether.
Rumours suggested if the car wasn’t up to scratch for testing this year, Alonso was out, with a seat in the FIA World Endurance Championship beckoning.
Nope. Alonso is still here, and he remains adamant that Mclaren-Honda can get the job done.
“Right now Mclaren-honda is for me the only challenger of Mercedes in terms of fighting for the world championship,” Alonso told Sky Sports News HQ. “I’m not young anymore, so I really hope I can win with Mclaren-honda. We are getting closer and closer and we will see after 2017 [when his contract expires] if I stay with Mclaren or I stop in F1. I don’t think I’ll switch teams anymore.”
The two-time world champion insists he hasn’t given up on the chase for a third crown. “I can see the possibility of being world champion again, you can [not] tell me that I will not extend the contract and I will keep chasing this third world championship. But I have to concentrate on this year first.”
Alonso added that he was buoyed by Mclaren-honda’s test performances: “It was so important to put mileage on the car to get a better understanding as we brought some new concepts in terms of car design – while on the power unit we had to make some fundamental changes because last season we used 11 or 12 units during the season. That was unacceptable. So I am happy with how things have developed.
“We’ve been doing quite a number of laps – that shows that over the winter we’ve been working very hard, so the reliability at least should be massively better.
“In terms of performance I am in a bit of a stand-by situation: sometimes the top times seem reachable, while on other days they are not. The championship is very long this year, and we don’t know what will happen. The car has huge potential.”