Fernando Alonso has admitted that he will feel some regret for leaving Ferrari if his former team goes on to prove a genuine title contender in the 2016 Formula 1 World Championship season.
The two-time title winner's original deal with Ferrari was supposed to see him race with the team in 2015 and 2016, but frustrations with the Scuderia
would prompt him to end his contract at the end of 2014. He would late agree to return to McLaren on a multi-year deal to head up its new collaboration with Honda.
However, since Alonso's exit, Ferrari has enjoyed a renaissance in the hands of his replacement Sebastian Vettel, who won three races en route to third in the 2015 standings, while many are predicting the German could prove a full title contender in 2016. By contrast, Alonso ensured a dismal campaign with McLaren and is unlikely to be in the hunt for podiums this year either.
As a result, the Spaniard accepts there will be some disappointment with his decision-making if Ferrari go on to challenge for the title in 2016, though he says it remains an 'if'
“If they win, probably yes [there will be regret],” he said. “I had a contract with them for last year and this year probably I will feel like could have had that opportunity… if I was able to drive as good as the champion if they win. That will be the case, but that is a big if.”
Reflecting on more immediate matters at this weekend's Australian Grand Prix, Alonso isn't giving much away about whether McLaren-Honda will show a big improvement on its 2015 campaign, which was hampered by woeful reliability and disappointing performance.
“We cannot make any predictions. It would be wrong because I would lie to you if you where we think we. It is the answer we all want to have, not only you guys, the teams as well. Because the winter it is difficult to read the lap times. Now it will be the same conditions for all of us, at 5 o'clock, same tyres, same fuel. We will have the answer on Saturday.
“In the first couple race as well because I don't think Australia will give exactly how the picture will be of how everything will go in the rest of the championship, so we remain calm, doing our preparations and our work for this championship. I do not think anybody in the team is targeting any special positions right now. Just wait and see and deliver the best of us.”