Fernando Alonso, McLaren, 2018

“Good times are coming” – Alonso’s verdict after driving the new McLaren

2018 F1 season

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Fernando Alonso says he believes “good times are coming” for McLaren after driving the team’s Renault-powered MCL33 for the first time.

Alonso completed his first run in the car as he and team mate Stoffel Vandoorne shake a 100 kilometre shakedown test as part of a filming day at the Navarra circuit in Spain.

McLaren MCL33, 2018
Interactive: McLaren reveal MCL33
“I think good times are coming,” said Alonso in av ideo released by McLaren. “We struggled, we kept the motivation very high, the team is stronger now than three years ago. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”

“It’s always a special moment when you drive the car for the first time,” he added after driving the first McLaren to be powered by a Renault engine. “Everything feels good.”

“We’re looking forward to do a proper lap now at full speed, but so far good. We run behind some other cars and some cameras, some people with filming equipment and things like that so it’s not full speed.”

“For us it’s the first feel with the seat, the pedals, the comfort side of it. And for the guys as well temperature, maybe some bodywork adjustments that we need to do.”

“The good thing about these days is the emotional part, after very intense work in the factory, everyone working very hard, very proud of the team and finally the day arrives. The engine’s running, the car is running, we are all happy.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 48 comments on ““Good times are coming” – Alonso’s verdict after driving the new McLaren”

    1. Still can’t believe that McLaren and Renault are partners – it seems so weird. But have to say I’m quite excited about this car, livery included!

    2. i’ve been waiting for this day since september.. FINALLY… McLaren with a car that works when you turn it on.
      Roll on Monday.. lets see how many laps they can get completed

    3. Bodywork adjustment?

      I wonder of which type and we rarely hear that after ‘promotional running’ even though all teams probably use that for some checkup. But I was thinking more about checking that everything is in running order and not Bodywork adjustment. Do they have any telemetry or would this come only from drivers feedback? I guess the latest.

      1. Car floor for example. Remember last year when str had a series of puncture because the tyres touched bodywork in the corners?

        Think like that, things that have to be tested and see their flexibility, especially with so many winglets now a days

        1. I thought that was a brake component rubbing on the inside of the wheel?

          1. I remember being a bit of the floor, but might be wrong

    4. Even with a car as competitive as last years Force India, Alonso can win a race. Hopefully the car really is as good as they’re saying.

      1. Oh boy, if turns out to be a bit better he might win the championship

        1. @johnmilk

          and why not, he outscored Lewis for the 2nd half of 2008 in that awful renault. he just needs the best cars on the grid to be a little less dominnant than they have been

      2. You’re joking right? When did the Force India come close to winning any race in the hybrid era?

        1. When did Force India have Alonso driving?

          And in Baku without the clash between Perez and Ocon that race win could have been on the table for them.

          1. Yes, baku for sure, but alonso can’t do miracles, force india was like 1,5 sec off from the best team of each race, wasn’t it? Apart from a crazy race like baku, there’s no chance on a race win for alonso driving a force india 2017 vs top teams 2017, there’s at best a podium chance.

            1. @esploratore this site is a dangerous place to be if you deny Alonso’s ability to perform miracles :D

      3. No, I don’t think so. You can’t win with a car that’s 1.5-2 seconds off the pace.

      4. Not if it was Force India pace. No-one will get near Ferrari or Mercedes for a long while yet

    5. Is Alonso talking about his participation with Toyotas slam dunk 2018 LeMans attempt? Must be as this McLaren looks awful next to every other car released so far.

      Good combination though, driver and team past their sell buy date both in their twilight.

      1. Luckily championship points are given out for where the car finishes in the race, not for how it looks when they take the covers off.

        1. And Mclaren tend to look bad and not finish well.

          1. You must not have been following F1 for long.

            1. I remember the only period they had a good run, but you can only go so far, they have had great drivers to overcome their cars, hence Hamilton got a title but no constructors title for 20 years, no race win for 5 full seasons despite more races a season than ever, they are the new Williams. There best period they had arguably 2 of the greatest drivers ever.

            2. Hakkinen’s battles vs schumacher are now 20 years ago? Damn, we’re old (those who watched them back then)!

            3. no race win for 5 full seasons despite more races a season than ever

              That doesn’t make much sense- if your car is that crap then the length of a season isn’t going to give you a much greater chance of winning a race.

      2. You write “this McLaren looks awful next to every other car released so far”…
        You should have wrote:
        “to ME this McLaren looks awful next to every other car released so far”

    6. I’m not expecting them to win if I’m honest, but the fights that are brewing for the 4th place in the championship hopefully will be as exiting as they appear to be.

      If Stoff raises his game it will be an amazing season between Mclaren, Renault, Force India and hopefully Williams, with Sauber and Haas with the odd result depending on the circuit

      1. I think they should be satisfied if they finish the year in 4th place and bag a few podiums along the way. It’s their first year with Renault, so I can’t expect them to beat Red bull straight away.

        In 2019 though, once Red bull switches to Honda power, I’d expect Mclaren to finish in 3rd if not higher.

        1. RBR will switch to Honda if they work, that’s why they have their little test tube called STR

          1. Good point…

            I suspect that RB are hoping that Honda have solved their problems. They’ve been looking for a Renault replacement for a few seasons.

            *waits for the inevitable threat to leave the sport*

          2. It also depends on how RB handles things though. I doubt Honda would like to have Marko and Horner blaming every time they don’t have a double on the engine.

            1. @bascb Like they did that to Renault. Media and fans like to blow everything up. Yes, the relation between the two hasn’t been spectacular but nowhere near as terrible as Honda and McLaren.

            2. @flatsix

              You’re joking. Honda was a disaster of epic proportions and yet McLaren handled the situation without throwing insults at them from the get go. Renault was underperforming slightly and Red Bull openly mocked them from day 1 of the 2014 season.. which was just a few months away from the time they sealed 4 WDCs and WCCs in a row.

              If Red Bull had started with Honda in 2015…. They wouldn’t even last a season together.

            3. let me just say, that @todfod adressed your point excellently @flatsix. Honda gave a lot more reason to be critisized than Renault did. And RB critisized more or less by default even when htey were winnning

            4. @todfod That’s just your standard ‘Red Bull-bad guys’-rhetoric for which you have zero evidence. Fact however is Renault screamed for these regulations and assured Red Bull a competitive engine, and they failed to deliver massively. Despite all the money and help Red Bull was offering both in knowledge and engineers Renault did nothing. Renault single handedly ruled Red Bull out of the title for three consecutive years where very likely Red Bull produced the best chassis. One would think the team has quite some reason to be upset. But no, it’s Red Bull so they must get on their knees and be happy they have an engine…

              Meanwhile McLaren goes away from the best engine on the grid by choice! That to an unknown engine from a company who hasn’t exactly delivered since the 90s. The engine hardly blew anyones hat off and Alonso didn’t go a full race distance without complaining about it. Meanwhile the team is critical as well, it just doesn’t get an article on every website because selling McLaren as the bad guys isn’t really that interesting comparing to Red Bull. Meanwhile hardly anyone from Honda commentates in European media which makes the debate silent to begin with. Compared to Renault where Abitebeoul is on it every weekend to defend his little engine.

              You’re absolutely naive to think McLaren treated Honda better than Red Bull did Renault, the very fact McLaren and Honda actually split should give you some indication on the relation between the two brands at this moment in time.

              And RB critisized more or less by default even when htey were winnning

              Next you’re going to say Red Bull never praised Renault, both myths that have been busted on this very site,…

            5. @flatsix

              That’s just your standard ‘Red Bull-bad guys’-rhetoric for which you have zero evidence.

              Well.. there is evidence. Maybe you should read up some on press releases and interviews starting from the 2014 season up until the end of 2015.

              Renault single handedly ruled Red Bull out of the title for three consecutive years where very likely Red Bull produced the best chassis.

              There’s no proof to suggest that Red Bull had the best chassis, especially in 2015 and 2016. It’s funny how much Red Bull were complaining when they couldn’t fight for the WDC. Now just imagine how Red Bull would react if they were relegated to back marker status.

              You’re absolutely naive to think McLaren treated Honda better than Red Bull did Renault, the very fact McLaren and Honda actually split should give you some indication on the relation between the two brands at this moment in time.

              Really now? McLaren ended the relationship with Honda, like any F1 team who wants to survive in this sport would. Red Bull on the other hand, still uses Renault engines, but refuses to acknowledge that fact by branding their engines as Tag instead. I think that should give you a better idea of ‘brand relationships’.

              You’re kidding yourself if you think Red Bull would handle the Honda situation without a full blown war. McLaren managed a disaster much more diplomatically than Red Bull handled a slight slump.

    7. So looking down the straight this is one of the few cars where the halo looks near invisible.

      Excellent.

      Loving the look of this. A bold orange and indigo blue livery. Amazing.

    8. That’s a great looking car and I hope it gets put to good use this year. (but I would be mightily amused if the STR Honda were just as fast….)

      1. This is my United States of whatever…

        Do-do-do dum-dum-dum-dum….

        1. Wow, that’s certainly a blast from the past.

    9. Hasnt McLaren done this before ? Debut an orange colored car on launch day and and then at FP1 on race weekend debut the final livery and colors. I wonder if the MCL33 will finally become the outsider who breaks into the order of the top three ??

    10. Let’s wait and see what Monday brings.

      If they can get a full day with close to 100 laps without returning a smoking mess to the pits before the lunch break I’d call that progress.

      Sadly, the history of their current PU provider hasn’t been all that good in the previous few pre seasons.

      Let’s see how positive they are at the end of next week.

    11. There once was a man called Fernando,
      Whose race car was coloured like mango,
      His chances are better,
      With the track a bit wetter,
      Or he’ll hand over his drive to young Lando …

      1. This old man McLaren would hire,
        to race a car coloured more like papaya,
        as luck would transpire,
        the engine caught fire,
        and Fernando resumed as a cryer

      2. That moment when you’re reminded that “orange” is the word in the English language there isn’t a rhyme for, haha :)

    12. It is interesting to see such glowing praise from Alonso in a test where the car never reached full speed. It will be interesting to see how the first pre-season test session goes.

      1. Heh, 2 days ago he was “apprehensive”. I think McLaren should learn the value of silence and wait until the flag drops.

    13. I’d love to see McLaren competitive but I can’t help but think negative due to the last 3 years. I will be on the edge of my seat next week as they must get a sufficient number of laps to get much needed data.

      I don’t expect them to be on par with Red Bull at first let alone Merc and Ferrari but with Alonso’s ability to get more than thought possible from a car it could get interesting. I think Van Doorne will do better than expected and give ALO a run for his money.

      I just hope Alonso is able to at least make life miserable for Vettel and Hamilton. It would be good to see a different WDC this year – F1 needs a shakeup.

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