Fernando Alonso: “We’re prepared to face a difficult weekend in Melbourne”

World © Octane Photographic Ltd. McLaren Honda MP4-31 – Fernando Alonso. Saturday 26th November 2016, F1 Abu Dhabi GP - Paddock, Yas Marina circuit, Abu Dhabi. Digital Ref : 1764LB1D9740

McLaren Honda Formula 1 Team driver Fernando Alonso is looking forward to getting the 2017 Formula 1 season underway at the Albert Park circuit in Melbourne this weekend, despite a tough pre-season test for the Woking based squad.

The new regulations this year bring an air of mystery to proceedings, and it is the possibilities that arise from this, that add to the excitement for the driver this year.

Alonso as ever is extremely pumped up for the battle set to take place, and is ready to push the MCL32 to its limits from the very first race.

“The start of a new season always gives us a range of feelings – great excitement to be racing again, and the sense of the unknown as we go into a formula with a brand-new set of regulations.

“We don’t yet know where everyone stands as testing was a proving ground for the teams more than ever before, and it’ll be interesting to see how quickly teams show their hand over the course of the weekend.

“I’m incredibly motivated for 2017 and I can’t wait to see what kind of racing this new shake-up of the sport will bring.”

The new rules, which beef up the 2017 machines with wider tyres and chassis, should suit the driving style of the Spaniard down to the ground, and if he has a car underneath him that will allow him to achieve his full potential, the double world champion would no doubt outperform every one of his rivals. Whether he will have that luxury, is yet to be determined however.

“We already know the sport is a lot more physical and the cars are more challenging to drive – from a driver’s point of view this is exactly what we were looking for in the new regulations, and I really hope this will translate to good battles on track.”

Alonso is under no illusions following the team’s disastrous winter test earlier this month, where they suffered test halting failures with the Honda engine across all eight days of running.

It has been a race against time for the Japanese manufacturer to resolve the underlying issues ever since, and the Spaniard expects the first race weekend to be a tough one, having had little chance to really test out the MCL32, and much disruption to their pre-season preparations.

“After a difficult two weeks of testing we’re prepared to face a difficult weekend in Melbourne.

“We’ll do our best with what we have and there’s a lot of hard work and collaboration happening within the team, but the lack of time before the first race means you have fewer options for big changes.”

One of the more pressing issues is whether or not the Honda engine will last a full race distance, a step the drivers were unable to achieve out in Spain. If they can get on top of the unreliability factor prior to race day however, then McLaren have every chance of enjoying a good first race.

Alonso will certainly be striving to achieve the best possible result, and hopefully having some fun along the way.

“The first step will be to work on reliability before we can make any assumptions or predictions about performance, and we will try to enjoy the weekend as much as we can.”