Fernando Alonso, McLaren, Albert Park, 2018

Alonso aims to reach Q3 at every race in 2018

2018 Australian Grand Prix

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Fernando Alonso has set himself a goal of reaching Q3 in every race this year and said McLaren should be the most-improved team of 2018.

Speaking to media in Australia, Alonso said the troubles McLaren encountered in pre-season testing had been fixed

“It should be a good season for us, getting back to the positions that we enjoy a bit more,” he said. “Hopefully 100% in Q3, regularly in the points, fighting in the top five, hopefully close to the podium in some of the races.”

Sebastian Vettel, Christian Horner, Albert Park, 2018
2018 Australian Grand Prix build-up in pictures
“We saw last year one Williams took a podium in Baku, the Force Indias were very close to a couple of podium positions in the year. So we know that the opportunities will come and in those opportunities we will deliver, hopefully.”

Alonso reached Q3 in seven out of 20 races last year. Only Valtteri Bottas and Kimi Raikkonen never failed to reach the final stage of qualifying.

Alonso said he expects McLaren to improve consistently over the coming season following its switch to Renault power. However he accepts the coming weekend is likely to be the team’s least competitive showing.

“This will be our lowest level,” he predicted. “I think during the season we will improve a lot.”

“We should be the team that will progress more relative to the other tams just because the integration to a new power unit will require time.

“The chassis has been designed and the season programmes with many updates that will come very soon, in the first couple of races. What we see here is going to be important, yes, but I think will [become] better and better. I expect in the second part of the season a very strong McLaren.”

Last year the team was often unable to defend its position on the occasions where it qualified strongly. Alonso predicted the “biggest difference” between this year and last will be that they are more competitive on race day

“Some of the race last year we were competitive. I don’t know where it was but I started P6, Abu Dhabi or one of the last two or three races, so the potential was there last year. But then in the race we had other difficulties, other problems, and we never had the opportunity to fight wheel-to-wheel. That will be a big difference this year and definitely much more fun.”

Alonso compared the coming season to his 2012 campaign with Ferrari, where the team were off the pace at the beginning of the season but still managed to win races.

“I fought in 2012 and I was not in Q3 in some of the races,” he said. “We will fight.”

“We are not at the level of Mercedes now, or at the level of Red Bull and Ferrari,” Alonso added. “What we think after winter testing we are not in that leading group yet but we should be there in a couple of races’ time or in the second part of the championship or something because we are McLaren, so we should be there.”

“As I said in 2012 we were not in that group ever and we were leading the championship in the last race. So let’s see what happens this year.”

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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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  • 25 comments on “Alonso aims to reach Q3 at every race in 2018”

    1. Keep clicking your ruby slippers together hoping he’ll make every Q3 this year, or much less – ever win another championship. He’s done. And was done a while ago. To save his over-the-top ego he’ll have to go to every other Motorsport until he wins something. But in F1 – he’s done.

      1. Alonso is as ‘done’ as he was at Ferrari in often the 5th best car. Or as ‘done’ as Vettel has been at Ferrari, until ‘maybe this year’

      2. Out of nowhere, sofa wisdom. Better served with personal dislike rather than actual facts.

      3. Flying in the face of accepted wisdom, that’s a comment you didn’t need to say out loud :)

        I think it’s perfectly reasonable McLaren can do this and is a sensible aim!

      4. Jokes how RF has its own dedicated troll . Feel like i’m on PF1.

      5. By done perchance do you refer to his future title chances? If that’s the case, I agree if only because the top seats won’t be available to him before he needs to retire.

      6. Thanks for enlightening me.
        And to think his peers still consider him one of the best on grid.
        Fools the lot of them!

    2. A very realistic target. McRenault should ideally displace Force India from the top 10 and if times during testing are taken into account, it could well happen.

      1. I’m really pleased with the way Liberty Media have been working to get the teams at the back of the grid to have improved performance. It looks to me like there’s no team obviously destined to be at the back of the grid, every team should make it to Q2, so there’s going to be a log jam of cars trying to get into Q3.

        1. I agree. It is the going to be very competitive this year, especially with the midfield and bottom ten. In my opinion, the two biggest losers would be Force India and Sauber–this is of-course completely based on what we saw at Baracelona. The teams should get better post the summer break though.

          I’m really pleased with the way Liberty Media have been working to get the teams at the back of the grid to have improved performance.

          Can we really credit Liberty for this ?? I doubt.

          1. I don’t see we shouldn’t give Liberty Media the credit for this. No team has gone bankrupt under their watch.

    3. Yeah, I think it was a good assessment from Alonso. At least this year he’ll be able to capitalize on his qualy performance. And I totally disagree he’s done on f1. He endured 3 woeful seasons , now he wants to finally start to capitalize on that. If they can be aggressive on car development like he said, he might have a good chance st Hungary or Singapore to get a podium

    4. Quite a fair target – not just for Alonso (as a driver he’s quite capable of doing it), but for McLaren to deliver a car that is capable.

      1. The trouble is Q3 is a target that every team should and can aspire to this year. I think there’s a much better balance between the teams than in previous years, and mostly the drivers are all very capable. I wouldn’t be surprised to find reputable drivers failing to reach Q2, and again I don’t see Q3 as being a certainty for any driver.

        1. Certainly not a certainty for anyone not driving a Red Bull, Ferrari or Mercedes

    5. Bear in mind these drivers have coaching sessions with top sports psychologists where they regulary establish positives and targets.
      Follow some of the international Rugby teams for example and they put a lot of time into this on a group level with coaches also having their own sessions.

      They’ve also had media training and I doubt we get any where near to knowing how many F1 drivers truly feel. Lewis probably getting the closest.

      I would like to see the questions from the reporters quoted to see the drivers’ answers in context. When the mainstream media get hold of these kind of comments, they usually write their own headlines insinuating the drivers are desperate to be heard.

      1. @bigjoe I think at this point it is called “counseling”

      2. I doubt that Alonso needs a counselor at this time.
        The 3 years with Honda is a different story:)

    6. As a fan of the sport, I hope to see Alonso driving to the best of his epic ability.

      As a fan of Irony, I hope Toro Rosso beats him regularly.

    7. I posted this once before, Alonso in my opinion is one of the best drivers F1 has ever seen. 2019 he will sign with the Renault Team and become WDC
      A bit of optimism never hurts.

      1. Maybe so. If RIC goes to Ferrari, Red Bull will want Sainz again.
        That would open a seat at Renault for ALO.
        Based on the premise McLaren has another bad year I can see the possibility.

        1. Would be quite funny if, after all these attempts at ferrari and mclaren, he went back to the team he won the last title with 13 years before and win another!

    8. I think with the budget the team has compared to the opposition, it whould be spectacular if their aim whouldn´t be q3.

    9. He failed at the first attempt.

    Comments are closed.