F1: Alonso, Button give thoughts on 2015 car and challenges
McLaren teammates Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button are both upbeat for the 2015 season, with Alonso saying he has “never felt better” ahead of a new season, while Button notes that the new partnership with Honda has been a massive motivational boost to the McLaren team.
Despite his aforementioned optimism, the Spaniard acknowledges that there’s still much learning to do as McLaren and Honda get to know each other and develop the new package in the coming weeks,
“Although the winter period is a time for rest and relaxation from racing, my motivation could not be stronger for the new season,” he said. “I’ve done a lot of training during the winter break, to reach my peak physical fitness, and I’ve been working hard in preparation for this new era of McLaren-Honda. I’ve never felt better, or more ready for a new season.
“Of course, we’re prepared for a steep learning curve, but it’s clear to see that inside McLaren-Honda there’s total commitment, and a real change in feeling, as we start this new partnership. We’re all focused on the challenge ahead, and I feel extremely honored to be part of a relationship that has shared so much history together. My aim is to help write a new chapter in the history of McLaren-Honda.
“We understand the effort and teamwork required to take McLaren-Honda back to where it should be, at the front of the grid, and all our energy as a team is focused on that goal.”
Alonso says he expects winter testing to be challenging for the new partnership.
“Our first target will be to learn the maximum from the car at the pre-season tests, understand the package, and extract as much performance as possible. That won’t be easy or trouble-free, but we’re ready for that. Why? Because our key focus will be on development.
“Historically, McLaren has already been characterized by its ability to bring updates to the car quickly, and develop a strong package. It’s going to be a real privilege to be the first person to drive the new McLaren-Honda MP4-30 at Jerez, and I can’t wait to begin what I’m certain will be a very exciting new chapter in my career. I’m as motivated now as I was when I was given my first opportunity at the wheel of an F1 car.”
The former World Champion, who knows the Japanese company well from his BAR/Honda days, also conceded that the 2015 season won’t be easy.
“The off-season has really brought about a sense of renewal coming into 2015,” he said. “Continuing my relationship with McLaren, getting married, and now embarking on such an exciting chapter: McLaren’s new partnership with Honda. I’ve trained hard over the winter, and I’m absolutely itching to get going in the new McLaren-Honda MP4-30.
“It’s been interesting to spend time in the factory during the past few weeks: you can really sense a feeling of reignited optimism and positivity around the building. I’ve never seen such motivation amongst the guys – we’re all massively keen to get going in Jerez and to work hard on developing our new car.
“But we’re under no illusion that it will be easy – there’s a huge challenge ahead of us to try to pull back the gap to our rivals, but we’re certainly up for it. We ended last season with great momentum and clear progress, and I’m determined to carry that forward into 2015.
“I’m also looking forward to working with my new team-mate, Fernando, and I’m confident that our joint experience on track will pay dividends in our development race to get our team back to the front of the grid. I’m hugely motivated to make more history in this new McLaren-Honda era.”