Alonso com­mit­ted and ready to help Mclaren-honda fight back, and even sug­gests it will be his last F1 team

Motor Sport News - - F1 Preview: Mclaren -

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.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.