Fernando Alonso insists it is entirely possible for the McLaren F1 Team to secure a podium finish this season, and he cites his experiences with the Renault F1 Team back in 2008 and 2009 where he took top three finishes despite not having anywhere near the best car on the grid.
The Spaniard started the 2018 season with a fifth place finish in Australia two weeks ago, and he knows that a podium opportunity could present itself to McLaren, providing they keep their positive upswing in fortunes with their new Renault Sport engine suppliers.
“We were two places from that podium already in Australia,” said Alonso during Thursday’s FIA Press Conference in Bahrain. “They were very close, the last ten laps, [Daniel] Ricciardo and Kimi [Raikkonen] fighting together so anything can happen in a race.
“I won two races in 2008 with that ING Renault. I was on the podium in 2009 with the introduction of KERS and that car that we were, I think, ninth in the World Championship or something like that, and I was on the podium so anything can happen in F1.
“If you are close to that position, sooner or later that opportunity will come and we will be there to take it. I think it’s very possible this year.”
Alonso acknowledges that there is still a ‘reasonable’ gap between McLaren and the top three teams on the grid at this stage of the season, but it is up to the Woking-based outfit to deliver their top performance so they can put themselves into positions where they can gain that elusive podium.
“I think there’s still quite a reasonable gap to close with the leaders, but I think it’s up to us now,” said Alonso. “It’s up to the team to deliver the performance in the next weeks, in the next four or five or six grands prix.
“If we are able to bring the performance to the track and close that gap and, you know, being in a reasonable distance to the pole position and the podium finishes and things like that, then it’s up to us to deliver the result on the weekend.”