McLaren’s 2018 season will be defined by the progress it makes over the next two months, according to Fernando Alonso.
Having finished fifth in the team’s first race with Renault power, Alonso believes it’s now down to the team to reduce its deficit to the front runners.
“I think still quite a reasonable gap to close with the leaders,” he said. “But I think it’s up to us now.”
“It’s up to the team to deliver the performance in the next weeks, in the next four, five six grands prix. If we are able to bring the performance to the track and close that gap and be in a reasonable distance with the pole position and the podium, finishes, things like that, then it’s up to us to deliver the result on the weekends.
“I think the next two months are crucial for our hopes in this championship. Hopefully we can keep improving the car, keep putting more performance. And, if it’s not a world championship fight, we’ll be hopefully some podium positions in the year or some regular top six, top five positions. Not only in Australia P5 because the Virtual Safety Car and two Haas retirements.
“Maybe the P5 could become a normality. That’s something we need to discover. It’s probably the first time in the last three years that it’s up to us now to deliver the results.”
Asked by RaceFans if it’s realistic to think McLaren could take a podium finish this year, Alonso said: “Yes.”
“We were two places from that podium already in Australia. They were very close in the last few laps, [Daniel] Ricciardo and Kimi [Raikkonen] fighting together.
“Anything can happen in a race. I won two races in 2008 with Renault. I was in the podium 2009 with the introduction of KERS and that car with I think we were ninth in the world championship.
“Anything can happen in F1, if you are close to that position, before or later than opportunity will come and we will be there to take it. I think it’s very possible this year.”
2018 F1 season
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- McLaren Racing losses rise after Honda split
- Ricciardo: Baku “s***show” was Red Bull’s fault
- “Drive to Survive Episode 1: All to Play For” reviewed
- F1’s television and social media audiences rose last year