Fernando Alonso says McLaren are aiming for respectability in the third year of their collaboration with Honda.
The team hasn’t finish higher than fifth place since Honda returned as its engine supplier at the beginning of 2015. Its last win came at the end of the 2012 season.
“We still think the start of the season will be a challenge,” said Alonso. “We can’t ignore the fact that we’re still coming from a significant step behind the current front-runners.”
“But I’d like to think we can target the second half of the year as a time when we’ll really be able to start making useful performance steps. The aim is to look respectable this year – and I’d like to think we can achieve that.”
Alonso said the new MCL32, launched by the team today, “appears to be really promising”.
“The new regulations seem to be well thought-out, and the cars look fast and aggressive,” he added.
Alonso’s new team mate Stoffel Vandoorne said “It’s really nice to see a McLaren looking like a proper McLaren.”
“The livery is a great mix of the past and the future: the orange of the 1960s and ’70s, but pushed forwards. I really like it.”
“As for the car itself, it looks great. There are so many beautiful little details – the gills on the nose hangers, the bargeboards, the front wing – it all looks incredibly well finished and thoroughly thought-out.”
Vandoorne will start his first full season of F1 this year having started one race for them in 2016. “This is the moment I’ve been waiting for my whole life,” he said.
“My preparation has been long, intense and meticulous. I’ve spent the winter training ferociously hard, I’m fitter now than I’ve ever been, and I’m raring to get going.”
2017 F1 season
- Stripping Verstappen of 2017 US podium was “one of the toughest decisions” – steward
- Sepang pays Haas compensation for Grosjean’s 2017 crash
- Williams revenues rose in 2017 after Bottas deal with Mercedes
- New kerbs at COTA in response to Verstappen’s corner-cutting
- Australian Grand Prix cost government £56 million last year