Fernando Alonso believes Honda have improved their engine ahead of the 2016 Formula 1 season and is expecting a better year after a season full of unreliability and an uncompetitive McLaren in 2015.
After the team completed 780 laps of the Circuit de Catalunya during the two pre-season tests in the hands of Alonso and team-mate Jenson Button, and the Spaniard is happy with the progress Honda have made over the off-season, especially in terms of reliability.
“It’s a step forward. The engine feels better than last year,” said Alonso on Crash.net. “But if it does feel better than last year, there is something really wrong. I am happy with the step that we did over the winter.
“We had two main issues last year: the performance and the reliability and at least the reliability I am happy with. We cannot forget that last year we used 11 or 12 units to complete the championship, so that’s unacceptable for us.
“We had to redesign a little bit the power unit and I think the answers from these two weeks are quite positive on that thing.”
Despite acknowledging the progress made on the reliability front, Alonso is still unsure on where the team sit in regards to performance, and will wait until at least the qualifying session on the Saturday of the Australian Grand Prix before passing judgement.
“In terms of performance, I am a bit on a standby because it’s difficult to read the time during the winter,” said Alonso. “It’s always changing.
“Some days some of the top times they seem reachable, some other days they seem unreachable. A little bit confused with the performance of everybody else and ourselves as well.
“We wait for Australia, 5pm, everyone on track, same fuel load, same tyres for everybody and we get the answers. But I think there is still a lot of work to do. Hopefully we are much closer than last year also on the performance side.”