McLaren's expectations for its first Formula 1 season working with Renault in 2018 are greater than they were at any point while working with Honda in the last three years, according to Fernando Alonso.

McLaren cut ties with engine partner Honda at the end of 2017 following three tough seasons that saw the much-fanfared partnership yield a finish of no higher than sixth in the constructors' championship, coming to a close with the British team second from bottom in the teams' standings last year.

McLaren struck a deal to work with French manufacturer Renault from 2018 in a bid to become more competitive and return to the front of the field, with Alonso tipped to lead the team's charge.

"We're going to be much more competitive. I don't know how much," Alonso told Spanish newspaper AS.

"Last year Red Bull looked like they were going to be strong due to the change in the rules, yet they had a slow start. [Max] Verstappen was forced to retire from a few races, they had completed less laps than us halfway through the year.

"For the expectations on Red Bull, that's a big blow. You always get asked if you are going to have a good car, but if you start badly, it's a huge comedown, so we can't anticipate anything.

"What I can say is that expectations are higher now than they have been during the past three years. The atmosphere at the factory is more positive, and everyone is determined to go that extra bit further, because we all want to be much more competitive - and I think we will be."

Alonso will get his first taste of the new McLaren-Renault MCL33 at the start of pre-season testing in Barcelona, which kicks off on February 26.


Loading Comments...