Fernando Alonso is enjoying driving the new-style Formula 1 cars for the 2017 season despite looking set to endure another tough campaign amid ongoing problems for McLaren's engine partner, Honda.

Honda had looked to make gains on its rival engine suppliers in 2017 by re-designing the layout of its power unit, with McLaren enduring a barren run without a win that stretches back over four years.

However, issues with the Honda power unit throughout pre-season testing left two-time champion Alonso and young team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne frustrated as neither could complete any extensive running in the McLaren MCL32 car, with the longest run being 11 consecutive laps.

Ahead of this weekend's season-opening Australian Grand Prix, Alonso said that McLaren would get a better idea of where it stands in Melbourne after failing to get close to the limit of what it could achieve in testing.

"We've only done the testing period, so I think the first race will make things a bit more clear because it's a question mark for us is where we exactly are," Alonso said.

"We were not able to push the car anywhere close to the limit on any lap in testing due to different problems. Let's see if we can have a good first weekend and see a little bit more of the potential of the car and hopefully see where we are. But still a long way to go for us, and a lot of work to do.

"I think the team is always working 100 per cent to improve the situation and to work as hard as we can and identify the problems and improve those areas. Everyone did the maximum in the last few weeks. Let's see what more we can find tomorrow on the track."

Entering the final year of his McLaren contract, Alonso's future is already a focus point for the F1 world, with the Spaniard previously saying that he could quit the sport if he didn't like the new-style cars.

Alonso was quick to stress that he is enjoying the new cars due to their added downforce and faster lap times, and that the lack of competitiveness did not detract from this enjoyment.

"No I think there are two separate things," he said. "One is how you enjoy and how much adrenaline these cars are giving you on the cornering speed. Compared to the last couple of years, it's a good step forwards not only for us drivers but for the spectators, for the people here in the grandstands and watching on TV. They look spectacular, that's a positive thing.

"Naturally all sportsmen are competitive. You arrive to race like we are doing now in the first grand prix of the year. That joy is to feel if you are competitive. Let's see how competitive we can be this year."

Alonso did, however, offer another parting shot at Honda, evoking memories of his 'GP2 engine' rant at Suzuka in 2015.

"At least when you are driving alone, you can enjoy [the new cars]" Alonso said.

"When you have a car close to you and they go much faster than you, that's a little bit less enjoyable..."