Alonso: "I don't see any reason to be pessimistic"

Published on 13 Mar 2018 09:12

Fernando Alonso insists he is "not pessimistic" after a fourth consecutive troubled winter for McLaren. After three bad years with Honda, the British team has finally dropped the Japanese manufacturer and switched to Renault power.

But McLaren still had winter testing trouble. Alonso told Spanish radio Onda Cero: "I do not see any reason to be pessimistic. McLaren is the second best team in history, Renault is one of the best engine makers ever and we are full of ambition. I do not see why it will not turn out well."

However, the team had higher hopes at the launch of the new orange car, refusing even to rule out wins. But Alonso insisted: "Things have not changed much since the presentation or the plans we had for the winter. We wanted to improve on the last three years and try to get as close as possible to the three best teams. We are on the way to doing that."

He admitted that McLaren will not join the fight with Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari in 2018, though. "McLaren can jump from being ninth to being close to them and fighting in the race," said Alonso. "When we changed to Renault we all agreed that it would be good if McLaren was close to the top three, in the top five in every race possible, always in Q3 and fighting for a podium when we can," he added.

He denied that McLaren dumped Honda at the worst possible moment, with Toro Rosso apparently performing well with the Japanese engine in the winter. "I have no problem with Honda," said the Spaniard. "It never crossed my mind to leave."

"But we will see how the Honda is in Australia," said the Spaniard. "They did a good winter test and if they are in the first five I will applaud. But I don't think so. One test is not the same as 21 races with three engines. I think they can be in the last three or four positions and we at McLaren will try to be in the first five, six," he added. "We are very happy with the change to Renault -- we have improved four seconds compared to last year."

Alonso said he never considered leaving McLaren, but he admits that 2015-2017 were "difficult to cope with". "My life is based on competition and winning," he said. "When I lack victory it is hard but I also learned other things. In these years my sights were opened up to other legendary competitions like Indy and the WEC. Everything happens for a reason. Those years had some frustration but now I'm happy because I have become a more complete driver."

As for the likely 2018 champion, Alonso agrees that Mercedes "seems to be in total domination mode". "Normally there are six cars in the first three grid rows, so then there is the question: McLaren, Haas, Renault or Force India? The first thing we have to do is to win that battle." (GMM)

Replies (18)
Posts: 133
I see.. French power units
Posts: 95
Renault have a 4 engine strategy which means they can develop it. I think Honda will do same. Smart move.
SE calle.itw 13 Mar 2018 20:540
Posts: 5888
They are bound to follow suit. And its the sound thing to do: plan it now, and plan it carefully, because it isnt an unlikely scenario, and you'd better be ready for it before it is ready for you.
GB Major Tom 14 Mar 2018 09:580
Posts: 143
I think they are likely follow suit whether they want to or not!
GB Smiler121 13 Mar 2018 10:280
Posts: 49
"I have no problem with Honda," Maybe not now they aren't his problem? "It never crossed my mind to leave" - Seriously Fernando you expect us to believe that with all the drama over the past few years???
BE krommenaas 13 Mar 2018 11:530
Posts: 155
He has all but given up on every winning again in F1.
GB talktohenry 13 Mar 2018 12:370
Posts: 357
Complete new PU and had to do it all in a matter of weeks, they have done very well so far given the mountain they had to climb, no idea what planet people are on who are so critical given what they've achieved since Honda and been through lately.....
SE calle.itw 13 Mar 2018 20:580
Posts: 5888
We are living on the "tired of McLaren's hyping"us planet, its orbiting around the Boullierus star in the Brown system. As for how impressive it is... Remember: STR did the same thing, but had already designed their car around the Renault unit, and they havent really suffered the same complications... With an arguably inferior unit, and an inferior budget. Is it then so impressive, that McLaren, a renowned team, could set good times but burned in the process? Remember, they have the least amount of laps run from any team. Is it indicative? Time will tell, but its not unreasonable to think there could be some truth to such results.
SE calle.itw 13 Mar 2018 21:030
Posts: 5888
... And also, I come in piece...
US ajpennypacker 13 Mar 2018 16:300
Posts: 1507
The basic expectation is that they will be close to or on top of the midfield. Accomplishing that alone
US ajpennypacker 13 Mar 2018 16:340
Posts: 1507
..would be pretty significant. However, the problem is that McLaren overpromises and underdelivers. They will be a fun team to watch in the midfield. I would not be surprised to see Alonso snatch some podiums. Hell, he could have even gotten a podium last year in Singapore.
SE calle.itw 13 Mar 2018 20:480
Posts: 5888
I would be. Remember, they have to get past Renault, maybe Haas, and maybe even Force India first. Along with RB and Ferrari and Merc of course.
Posts: 424
I think the key for all teams this year will be reliability and good quali pace. Since they're able to carry so much more speed into corners this year, breaking points have move forward, so overtaking will be even harder this year. So if you make it into q3, stay out of trouble the first laps, and have good reliability you should be in the points.
US ajpennypacker 13 Mar 2018 17:590
Posts: 1507
Interesting point, I really hope you're wrong though. Less proper overtaking would probably mean that a larger proportion of overtakes would come from DRS moves ugh!
SE calle.itw 13 Mar 2018 19:250
Posts: 5888
As long as the DRS works as it did last year, I wont mind. Its not like DRS were broken last year. But yeah, I agree with KEAN's deduction. The consequences of 3 allocations.
Posts: 424
As far as I know, overtakes were severely reduced last year. But the overtakes we got were often more exciting than they were in 2016. So it is a tightrope when it comes to aiding overtakes for the good of the "show". Maybe 2017 was the first year DRS was needed? What do I know. I think that if you want to get rid of DRS (something that won't happen anytime soon according to Ross Brawn) then you have to introduce new aero rules, rules that will allow cars to follow more closely. Basically, more mechanical grip, less aero. Now, add a simplified PU formula so more manufacturers enters and we got a show.
SE calle.itw 13 Mar 2018 22:250
Posts: 5888
I very much agree with that conclusion. IMO, DRS was close to perfect last year: not a foolproof way to overtake, just that extra that helps with an overtake. Skill was still necessary to overtake. IMO, if we want high aero regulations, DRS will be a necessary component. Following might be possible otherwise, but overtaking? No.

About simplified PUs... It depends on how its done. Hybrid is the way to go, so they still need that, and I say no to standardized parts. F1 shouldnt be impossible, but it shouldnt be something anyone can join. I think BoP could greatly help, if done with moderation. I like my idea of giving the backmarkers one extra penalty free unit, imagine what that could do in a year like this.
Posts: 6

I bet he finds a reason pretty quickly.

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