Fernando Alonso: “It’s good to be back”


Fernando Alonso completes a second successful day of the Formula 1 pre-season testing for McLaren-Honda at the Circuit de Catalunya.

The Spaniard completed a total of 119 laps behind the wheel of the MP4-31 with a fastest lap time of 1m26.082s, finishing the session behind the Manor of Pascal Wehrlein in ninth.

McLaren’s programme for the second day of pre-season testing was an extension of what Jenson Button started yesterday in Barcelona, data gathering, systems and electronics checks and evaluation of engine modes.

After a poor start last year to McLaren’s 2015 season, Alonso is happy that he completed a good number of laps, something that he missed last year.

“After a long break, it’s good to be back, and to complete a good number of laps – something I missed this time last year,” said Alonso. “The first priority for the team this winter was to make sure we went through the problems we had last year and find some solutions, and we’ve done this, at least on the reliability side.

“I’m proud of the team and the job that everyone has done together on this car. I enjoyed today, but I think there is performance we need to unlock in the car. Most of the laps we did today were for aerodynamics studies, and reliability studies: brake temperatures, water temperatures, etc.

“For a driver, these are things that are not very exciting, so I’m looking forward to doing some setup changes and running with different fuel levels to really enjoy the driving as well. On the aerodynamic side, there are a lot of parts that are quite new for us, so we need a little bit of time to mature the package, and the same on the power unit, too.

“For us, last year we learned a lot, and now with a completely new philosophy we still need a bit of time to understand everything and exploit its potential.” 

Button will continue the team’s schedule when he resumes driving duties on Wednesday.