Fernando Alonso believes that McLaren will have a much-improved campaign this season. The Spaniard is confident that they can be “very, very competitive” racing with Renault power. After three wretched and fruitless years with Honda, McLaren elected to not renew their deal with the Japanese manufacturer. So the Woking squad will switch to Renault power this season.
The move is expected to bolster McLaren’s chances of a podium finish, and maybe even a win. Alonso said, “Hopefully the last three years will be forgotten very quickly. It’s a completely different game for us. We believe that we could be very, very competitive with a Renault power unit next year. All the preparations of the new car, it is looking much, much [more] promising than before. Our hopes for next year are very high. Definitely the mood of the team is completely different.”
The double World Champion also spoke about his Daytona run. He believes that the endurance race will serve as great preparation for the upcoming F1 season.
He continued, “It’s a way of preparing yourself. I’m used to spending January and February preparing physically for the season, doing training camps … training the neck with weights, with elastics. Now I have the opportunity to train those muscles and to get into the racing spirit in the car and racing some of the best racers in the world. It’s a nice preparation and nice warm-up of the season in F1.”
Alonso is not the only F1 driver to be racing in the 24 Hours of Daytona though. Canadian driver Lance Stroll will also be racing in the endurance event. Meanwhile, another driver who is participating in a non-F1 event is Carlos Sainz Jr. The Spaniard will be a guest driver at the Monte Carlo Rally, the opening race of the World Rally Championship 2018.