Fernando Alonso says he is apprehensive about McLaren’s chances in 2018, despite being excited by the team’s new Formula 1 challenger. 

After a disastrous three-year spell with Honda, McLaren pulled the plug on its engine deal with the Japanese manufacturer in favour of a switch to Renault for 2018. The Woking-based squad is aiming to move back up the grid this season, having endured a barren winless run stretching back to the 2012 Brazilian Grand Prix. 

The Renault tie-up appears to have been a key factor in Alonso remaining with the British squad, despite suffering its worst-ever finish in the constructors’ championship. Alonso is hoping McLaren has been able to combine the strengths of its 2017 car - which he consistently labeled as boasting the best chassis on the grid - and an improved power unit. 

“Looking at our new car, I feel incredibly excited – but also apprehensive,” Alonso said. “I know just how important this car is to the team, and I just hope that it delivers in the way we all want it to.

“If we’re able to develop the key strengths of last year’s chassis and marry it to an improved Renault power unit, then I think we’ll be able to take a step forwards. The car certainly looks very neat and well thought-out, and I think the new colour looks really great; really eye-catching. 

The Spaniard, who will also contest the 2018/2019 World Endurance Championship ‘superseason’ with Toyota - which includes a debut appearance at the 24 Hours of Le Mans - says he cannot wait to get behind the wheel of the MCL33. 

“My winter has felt somewhat shorter than usual, as I’ve already been in the cockpit for a 24-hour race [Daytona 24 Hours], and several sports car tests! That said, I’m really looking forward to getting behind the wheel of a Formula 1 car for the first time in three months. I just want to get behind the wheel now!” 

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