Fernando Alonso is of the opinion that McLaren have improved this year as compared to their stint with Honda. He was speaking at Cannes, where he went after winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans with Toyota.
Alonso said, “We have improved compared to last year. We are not yet able to win the world championship, but we want to join the race for victories as soon as possible.”
“I believe this year is a transition year for us but we are moving in the right direction. The transition to Renault engines has been successful, as we are fighting for higher positions and earning points in almost every race.”
“But it takes time for the cooperation to become truly fruitful”, Alonso explained.
McLaren factory staff were reported to be furious and had almost started to revolt, because of the management’s inability to provide reasons for the cars’ low performance.
One of the people they were unhappy with was McLaren CEO, Zak Brown. But he seemed unfazed as he also shared Alonso’s opinion.
“In sports, there are no guarantees that you will win all the time, but I believe that McLaren is a very powerful brand, we have a rich heritage and we will be able to overcome all our difficulties”, he said.
“The operation of the team is gradually improving, but we do want the pace of improvement to be faster.”
McLaren obviously suffered in their tumultuous 3-year association with Honda. But this year, the Japanese team has supplied engines to Toro Rosso and they have had decent weekends. But Alonso defended the decision to cut ties with them.
“The decision to stop the cooperation with Honda was right, although it is clear that it was not easy for the team to accept”, he admitted.
Fernando Alonso is still the one of the best drivers on the grid despite being 37 years of age. His ability to note the finer points of racing is next to none and when he states his opinion, one can be sure that it is the right one.
McLaren are in the mix for points this year but it remains to be seen whether they can challenge for race wins in the near future as Alonso states.