McLaren-HondaJenson ButtonFernando Alonso
2015 Constructors' Standings - 9th

The team with surely the resource to make the biggest gains in 2016, McLaren-Honda have shown promise in testing but drivers and management are avoiding last year's prediction pitfalls. A full revival it won't be, but few would be surprised if McLaren is regularly back in the points this year

Though it became something of a running joke - which Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button gamely got in on -, the reality is McLaren-Honda's struggles are not good for F1 (Red Bull don't know how good they have it in comparison...)

Indeed, whilst some may take the pleasure in Ron Dennis having to smile through the pain of McLaren's worst season since 1980, a competitive McLaren with a quick and reliable Honda engine against Mercedes and Ferrari would go a long way to giving F1 a shot in the arm.

Of course, the much discussed restrictions on development mean we are unlikely to see Alonso and Button on the podium - in normal circumstances - any time soon, but few would begrudge McLaren forging its way up the order in 2016.

A day in the garage during testing aside - an all too familiar sight in 2015 -, McLaren enjoyed a relatively trouble-free pre-season, much to management and Honda's delight, while modifications to the power unit have been given a thumbs up by both drivers.

Indeed, McLaren proved one of the hardest teams to pin down in terms of performance during testing, partly because few expect them to be so far back this year. Raising a few murmurs it could be top ten come Melbourne, the team itself is maintaining an air of riddle-like modesty.

Whilst this is partly down to learning its lesson following the embarrassment of not getting close - as in, another planet - to targets in 2015, there are still clearly some limitations.

Overall though, the MP4-31 appears an improvement all round and the step forward has the potential to be the biggest of any team. In what looks like an increasingly close mid-field, this could seemingly place McLaren anywhere between eighth and 18th. In short, it would be hard for it to go any further backwards in 2016...



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