Fernando Alonso: “We are ready for the new era”

The release of the McLaren-Honda MP4/30 heralds the new generation for the McLaren F1 Team. For the first time since 1992, when Ayrton Senna partnered Gerhard Berger, Honda are on board with the team, and everyone is excited to see what the revival of the partnership will bring, not just to the team but to Formula 1.

The team are hopeful that the 2015 line-up of Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button can help them return to their former glories together, when in five years they secured four World Drivers’ Championships and four Constructors’ championships together.

Alonso returns to the team he drove for during the 2007 Formula 1 season, and after five years with the Scuderia Ferrari team, returns to the team refreshed and prepared for the new season with the Honda-powered McLaren MP4/30.

“Although the winter period is a time for rest and relaxation from racing, my motivation could not be stronger for the new season,” insisted Alonso. “I’ve done a lot of training during the winter break, to reach my peak physical fitness, and I’ve been working hard in preparation for this new era of McLaren-Honda. I’ve never felt better, or more ready for a new season.”

The Spaniard, who has made 234 Grand Prix starts since debuting in Formula 1 back in 2001 with Minardi, understands that the start of the renewed partnership between McLaren and Honda might not be that easy, but he has seen just how committed both parties have been focusing on the challenge of making a competitive and reliable race car.

“Of course, we’re prepared for a steep learning curve, but it’s clear to see that inside McLaren-Honda there’s total commitment, and a real change in feeling, as we start this new partnership,” said Alonso. “We’re all focused on the challenge ahead, and I feel extremely honoured to be part of a relationship that has shared so much history together.

“My aim is to help write a new chapter in the history of McLaren-Honda. We understand the effort and teamwork required to take McLaren-Honda back to where it should be, at the front of the grid, and all our energy as a team is focused on that goal.

“Our first target will be to learn the maximum from the car at the pre-season tests, understand the package, and extract as much performance as possible. That won’t be easy or trouble-free, but we’re ready for that. Why? Because our key focus will be on development.

“Historically, McLaren has already been characterised by its ability to bring updates to the car quickly, and develop a strong package.”

Alonso will have the first opportunity to test the McLaren-Honda MP4/30 at Jerez this Sunday, and insists he is as motivated now as he was when he made his Formula 1 debut back in 2001. He is also happy to have someone as experienced and as quick as Button as his team-mate this season, and insists everyone is ready for the rebirth of the McLaren-Honda partnership.

“It’s going to be a real privilege to be the first person to drive the new McLaren-Honda MP4-30 at Jerez, and I can’t wait to begin what I’m certain will be a very exciting new chapter in my career,” said an excited Alonso. “I’m as motivated now as I was when I was given my first opportunity at the wheel of an F1 car.

“Last but not least, I’m excited to be sitting alongside Jenson [Button], a great team-mate and a very experienced competitor. Together we’ll push the team forward, to learn, to progress, and eventually to achieve the best possible results together. We are ready for the new era.”