McLaren Honda Formula 1 Team driver Fernando Alonso, believes that how the Woking based squad interpret the new aerodynamic regulations will be their biggest issue in 2017, not power unit woes.
The Spaniard is happy that the engine side of development, which has been a massive bug bear for the squad in recent seasons, is now on track, but coming up with the right aero package, will be a key factor this season, as he explained to motorsport.com recently.
“Let’s say that Mercedes, the top power, will be difficult to reach, we know that – not for us, but for everyone. But I think we can be close enough that we can fight.
“I’m 100 percent confident we will reach the power that we want to reach, on aerodynamics I think it is more of a question mark.”
The 2017 rule changes have been introduced in a bid to shake up the order, after three season of Mercedes engine dominance, but Alonso is well aware that such changes can make or break a teams chances. The Spaniard is therefore hoping that McLaren will have found a winning solution from the get go.
“When there are new rules you can be lucky or unlucky. It depends on how every team interprets the rules, how the philosophy of the car goes.
“Maybe you choose to go right and someone in the paddock chooses to go left and you find in race four or five that your package aerodynamically goes to the left because you started wrongly.
“Hopefully we are one of those who does the job from the beginning.”
Despite struggling to produce the sort of results one would expect from McLaren Honda since the Japanese manufacturers return to the sport, the progression the Woking based squad have shown from 2015 to 2016 is extremely promising.
The double world champion is therefore excited for the new season ahead, and commented that although his motivation has never waned at any point, he is much more focused this season, now the chance of success has become very real again.
“The motivation last year was just to arrive to the Monday after Abu Dhabi and forget about 2015. This year is different; the motivation is higher because there are expectations for next year.
“The rules change which will mix things a little bit. There is the progress that Honda made this year that I think is very positive and gives me confidence for next year as well.
“I’m really looking forward to Australia in March. Last year it was ‘OK, hopefully in Australia everything will change’, but there are so many things that had to change that you have hope, but it’s a big hope.
“This year we just have to fix a few things so the hope is more real. You are more motivated because of that.”