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Alonso: 2017 Question marks offer McLaren hope

Fernando Alonso says the lessons learned by McLaren-Honda in its recent difficulties will work to its advantage ahead of the 2017 overhaul in regulations.
Fernando Alonso is optimistic McLaren and Honda will use the opportunity of next year's overhaul in technical regulations to make a definitive step towards the front of the field.

In the wake of its worst F1 season for more than 30 years last season, McLaren-Honda has enjoyed an upturn of form in 2016 but remains seventh overall with a best finish of fifth from Fernando Alonso at the Monaco Grand Prix.

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However, with F1 set to undergo a raft of changes for the 2017 season, Alonso senses it as the opportunity for McLaren to make significant headway in its quest to return to the front of the field.

“A regulation change opens a little bit of hope for us, not only at McLaren but for everyone because everything is new. I think let's go step by step and let's hope that if we have a competitive engine then on the chassis side we are also competitive a little bit thanks to the new rules which will open things with new ideas and new philosophies.

“It can be very good and if you understand it well and have a good approach to the new regulations then you can become very competitive … or it can be the opposite and our philosophy for the 2017 car is completely wrong and we are even less competitive than this year. You don't know, but I think that question mark for next year offers hope and we are optimistic.”

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Indeed, though the Honda engine has long been considered McLaren's Achilles heel, Alonso believes the team will be well prepared to capitalise on the shift towards emphasising the chassis.

“The team is strong, the technical people we have are united and I think we have a good balance in the team, in the staff, in the design group. It's probably the best team I've been in in my career. We are not competitive because we have a lot of problems to solve from last year and the project was not ready to compete at this level.

“We have to make sure that the reliability is in place, the power, the driveablity, the aerodynamic philosophy, it all had to change a lot and find a new direction. But in terms of the team and the structure, organisation, this is definitely the best group that I have been working with.”

After 12 rounds of the 2016 F1 season, Alonso is 13th in the standings, nine points shy of the top ten.

POINTS: Check out where the F1 drivers and constructors' stack up after 12 races



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
31.07.2016 - Race, Romain Grosjean (FRA) Haas F1 Team VF-16 and Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren Honda MP4-31
31.07.2016 - Race, Sergio Perez (MEX) Sahara Force India F1 VJM09 and Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren Honda MP4-31
31.07.2016 - Race, Sergio Perez (MEX) Sahara Force India F1 VJM09 and Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren Honda MP4-31
31.07.2016 - Race, Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren Honda MP4-31
29.07.2016 - Free Practice 1, Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren Honda MP4-31
French Grand Prix at Paul Ricard
Lando Norris, McLaren Autosport BRDC Awards [Credit: Martyn Pass PR]
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Pirelli 2017 tyre test [Credit: Pirelli]
27.11.2016 - Race, Jenson Button (GBR)  McLaren Honda MP4-31
27.11.2016 - Race, Jenson Button (GBR)  McLaren Honda MP4-31
27.11.2016 - Race, Marcus Ericsson (SUE) Sauber C34 and Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren Honda MP4-31
27.11.2016 - Race, Jolyon Palmer (GBR) Renault Sport F1 Team RS16 and Jenson Button (GBR)  McLaren Honda MP4-31
27.11.2016 - Race, Start of the race, Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren Honda MP4-31 off trach and Max Verstappen (NED) Red Bull Racing RB12 spins
27.11.2016 - Race, Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren Honda MP4-31
27.11.2016 - Race, Jenson Button (GBR)  McLaren Honda MP4-31
27.11.2016 - Race, Jenson Button (GBR)  McLaren Honda MP4-31
27.11.2016 - Race, Felipe Massa (BRA) Williams FW38 and Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren Honda MP4-31
27.11.2016 - Race, Jenson Button (GBR)  McLaren Honda MP4-31

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theoldgitspeaks

August 09, 2016 11:59 AM

Obviously backtracking on his and RD's assertion that McLaren will be winning races next season. I accept that they have improved but from such a low base that they are still nowhere near the front. Assuming they have a completely new powerplant next season it will need to match the Mercedes one in both power and reliability. I ask just how likely is that? the best we can hope for is for them to be competitive which means being on the front two rows on a regular basis and having no circuits that "don't suit" them. If that happens i can see Alonso and Vandoorne getting plenty of points and maybe a couple of podiums.

MrQwerty

August 09, 2016 1:35 PM

Realistically, Mclaren should be OK with a strong fourth place next season, although of course we can hope for better. I suspect that any talk of more is an attempt to placate drivers who of course have less time, in the grand scheme of things, in which to profit from an improvement than the management does.



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