Fernando Alonso: “I’m really looking forward to getting back in the car”


McLaren-Honda driver Fernando Alonso is looking forward to getting back into the MP4-31 this weekend when Formula 1 returns with the season-opener in Melbourne.

During pre-season testing last year in Barcelona, Alonso lost control of his MP4-30 causing him to strike the track wall at high speed, and doctors advised the Spaniard not to drive in Melbourne ‘to minimise the chances of second impact syndrome’; McLaren reserve driver Kevin Magnussen raced in place of Alonso.

Alonso is interested to see how rival team’s tyre choices play out this season and the strategy each team picks. Friday and Saturday will be where McLaren work hard to predict the track’s characteristics for race day.

“It’s been a very long winter, the longest I can remember without Formula 1, so I’m really looking forward to getting back in the car,” said Alonso. “This track is always exciting to drive, partly because of its street circuit nature, tight run-off areas, a bumpy surface and low grip but also because everyone is impatient to go racing again.

“The important thing is to get a good start, usually everyone is eager and it’s quiet common for there to be some drama off the line in the first race. This year, it’ll be interesting to see how everyone’s tyre choices play out, and the strategy each team picks, but it’s only on Sunday afternoon that we’ll get to see where we really are.

“On Friday and Saturday, we’ll be working hard to predict the track’s characteristics on race day, and focusing on setting up the car in its final specification. It’ll also be interesting to see how the improvement in the power unit deployment pans out on this tricky circuit, too.”