Fernando Alonso believes McLaren's lack of performance in 2015 has been down to 'fundamental issues' which should be simple to solve ahead of next season.
The two-time F1 champion has openly admitted the return of Honda this year has been frustrating with its underwhelming power unit compared to the rest of the Formula 1 field. Alonso feels he hasn't been able to be competitive due to the basic problems of unreliability and lack of power from its engine.
Despite the issues, the Spanish driver says he is optimistic solutions will be found over the winter, recently forecasting he expects to be up to 2.5 seconds quicker next year, and that his rivals won't be able to maintain the gap because they have already made the required gains with its power units.
“The lack of performance we have in some of the areas of the car are quite fundamental issues,” Alonso said in the F1 drivers' press conference ahead of the Mexican Grand Prix. “They shouldn't have a difficult answer or solution and we need to copy the direction everyone else has gone in front of us.
“Some of the time we can recover will happen with not much penalty because the others already have it in their packages. Some of the performance gains we think will come free but our competitors will work hard over the winter and recover a couple of seconds as well, so we need to make an extra.”
Alonso has been impressed by the improvements added to the McLaren over the course of this season and now feels at circuits and conditions which play to the car's strengths – as witnessed at the United States Grand Prix – he and team-mate Jenson Button can now fight for the points.
Button was able to take sixth place in Austin and had it not been for a power unit issue in the closing stage of the race Alonso looked set to fight with his team-mate.
"In the first 20 laps [in Austin] for nine of them I think I was quicker than Lewis and that hasn't happened for the last two-and-a-half years,” Alonso said. “So this was very good news and I enjoyed the race. To get zero points because of an issue in the last ten laps was not good.
“This year has been tough and frustrating at times but we have kept united and moving in one direction. For next year we are working on the problems we have had this year. When the circuit suits our car it is an extra motivation and we can push harder. It was the case in Austin where we were more competitive in the race. It was probably the best race of the year for me.”