Fernando Alonso has expressed his hope in the McLaren F1 Team‘s chances at the opening round of the 2018 Formula 1 season in Melbourne.
McLaren have turned to Renault Sport in order to propel themselves back up the pecking order after three unsuccessful years with Honda power units. However, winter testing has seen a few teething problems in the partnership, with cooling becoming the early achilles heel of the MCL33.
Despite the gremlins, Alonso is eagerly anticipating his second competitive race of the year, two months on from his excursion to sportscar racing for the Rolex 24 at Daytona.
“Finally, time to go racing,” Alonso beamed.
“This isn’t my first time racing this year of course – I’ve already done a 24-hour race in Daytona and have a very busy season ahead of me – but I’m really excited about getting behind the wheel of the MCL33 for the first Grand Prix of the year.”
The Spaniard, approaching his seventeenth season in F1, believes that McLaren have gathered a solid understanding of the new car and power unit, but admits that there is more work to be done.
“Our car showed a lot of potential in winter testing,” he added.
“Although we know we still have a lot to work on, we’ve already learned a lot about the package and how all the new elements to this year’s car work together. Australia is its first real test, and we need to work hard all weekend to bring all the ingredients together.
“Nobody can ever predict how other teams will perform at the first race of the season and that all contributes to the excitement. Melbourne is a great track and, after what feels like a long winter, I’m really looking forward to seeing what we can do.”
Alonso is also set to balance his F1 commitments with a début season in the World Endurance Championship with Toyota GAZOO Racing, as he continues to pursue the second part of his desired Triple Crown.