Fernando Alonso and the McLaren-Honda team get back to racing at Spa-Francorchamps this weekend following the mid-season break, with the Spaniard looking to build on the best result of the season last time out in Hungary.
Alonso is happy to get back to racing, and is in a positive frame of mind following the fifth place finish he achieved at the Hungaroring four weeks ago, which is the best result so far for the resumed McLaren-Honda partnership.
“It feels great to be back,” revealed Alonso. “I enjoyed a relaxing break over the summer shutdown, but I also trained hard and I feel in the best shape to start the second half of the year.
“After Hungary, we were all really encouraged by the outcome; although we were fortunate to have had some good luck, we still battled hard and finished the race with a positive result.”
As impressive as Alonso’s career in Formula 1 has been, it perhaps is a surprise that at a drivers circuit such as Spa that the Spaniard has never won a Formula 1 race at the track, although he did win their for Astromega back in F3000 in 2000, although he feels it will be hard to change his record this weekend.
“Spa will be tricky for us, due to the configuration of a track that requires power, downforce and a big chunk of the lap spent at full throttle,” insisted Alonso. “But, from a driver’s perspective it’s a spectacular circuit and the fans there also make it a truly special place.
“It’s a place at which I won when I was in Formula 3000, but never in Formula 1. I’ve enjoyed some really exciting battles there, and I’m looking forward to this weekend for some more.”
Alonso believes the next handful of races will be important for the team as they aim to continue their positive momentum, especially with the upgrades they and engine manufacturers Honda are implementing onto their car.
“The next few races will be important for us,” said Alonso. “We need to continue our forward momentum, and, with the addition of some tweaks to the car and power unit, we will be looking for more progress and good correlation between the simulator and our on-track performance.
“That might not necessarily appear above the surface in either Spa or Monza, but we’ll keep pushing development forward at each race.”