Fernando Alonso says he is '100 per cent ready for the challenge ahead' as he embarks on what he hopes will be a more rewarding season with McLaren-Honda.
Having returned to McLaren in 2015 to spearhead its new collaboration with Honda, the two-time world champion suffered as a result of the car's woeful reliability and performance to end the year with a best result of just fifth in Hungary.
However, while many would question whether Alonso would persevere with the project, he says he remains committed to the challenge and is confident lessons learned from last year will spur it on to more success in 2016.
“The start of a new season is always a special feeling, characterised by a lot of anticipation for the year ahead,” he said. “This year is no different: I'm excited and raring to go. Last year the spotlight was very much on McLaren-Honda as we embarked on the first year of our renewed partnership. It was a tricky season for all of us, but we learned a hell of a lot.
“Likewise, it's been a very productive winter for me. I've been training extremely hard, as usual, but also enjoying time with my family, and keeping tabs on all the hard work going on at the McLaren Technology Centre, Woking, where the McLaren guys have been doing an incredible job to get everything ready in time. The Honda boys have been working flat-out in Sakura, too.
Describing the MP4-31 as showing 'fantastic attention to detail', Alonso is convinced McLaren's innovative approach to packaging will prove beneficial.
“The aero package shows fantastic attention to detail. The whole car is beautiful in fact – it's particularly nicely packaged from an aerodynamic point of view as I say – and I'm 100 per cent ready for the challenge ahead.”