Fernando Alonso says he remains in no doubt that McLaren-Honda will win in Formula 1 'sooner or later' but admits he perhaps came into the project with 'too much hope'.
Two-time champion Alonso joined McLaren's revived collaboration with engine supplier Honda at the start of the 2015 season amidst an initial expectation that he could challenge for podiums and wins.
However, the Honda power unit would prove both underpowered and unreliable, Alonso ending the season with only a handful of points and question marks about whether he would remain with the project.
Nevertheless, Alonso and McLaren are enjoying a substantially improved 2016 season, with Alonso now just five points shy of cracking the top ten in the overall standings. Indeed, Alonso insists he has always had trust in McLaren-Honda even if he admits he believed results would come sooner.
“The trust was always there but sometimes last year it was just hope, there was just too much hope and you want to see the results at one point, you want to touch the result at one point and now that we start feeling that I think that everyone is more excited, everyone is more motivated and everyone wants to arrive in Australia next year already now. This is a very good feeling.”
Looking ahead, Alonso says he is 'very confident' looking ahead to 2017 when McLaren-Honda has the opportunity to capitalise on a change in the technical regulations.
“[I am] very confident. I think we really need this progress to see it because last year we have a lot of trust in the project, this year in the beginning we have a lot of trust, no one had any doubts that McLaren-Honda will win sooner or later.
“To see us now competing with some of the teams that it was unthinkable some months ago, even Spa finishing in front of one Williams, one Ferrari, it was really needed I think for the team.
“Everyone in the factory and everyone in the team now see this progress after the hard work and now it's extra motivation for everyone because we all know that we just need that last step.”
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