Alonso keeps faith: “McLaren the only way I can be Formula 1 world champion again”
McLaren
Fernando Alonso
Posted By: Alex Kalinauckas  |  26 Nov 2015   |  5:24 pm GMT  |  73 comments

Fernando Alonso still believes that driving with McLaren is the only way he can win another Formula 1 world championship despite the problems the team has endured with its Honda engines throughout 2015.

And the Spaniard received plaudits from his team mate Jenson Button, who described him as more consistently competitive than his former team mate Lewis Hamilton.

Alonso joined the Woking-based squad after five seasons racing for Ferrari, where he finished runner-up in the world championship in 2010 and 2012, as his frustrations with the team became too great.

The Spaniard attempted to force a move to Mercedes for 2015 but joined McLaren just as the British team started its worst season in F1 for 35 years.

Fernando Alonso

Although his replacement at Ferrari, Sebastian Vettel, has gone on to win three times for the Scuderia in 2015, Alonso maintains he made the best decision for his title ambitions by joining McLaren and is hoping for better results in 2016.

Speaking at the pre-event press conference in Abu Dhabi, Alonso said: “[It’s been a] tough year, obviously difficult and [we’ve been] struggling with the pace all year and the reliability, so definitely a difficult season for us.

“But personally I think it was necessary. It was a step forward in my career after the two championships, after five fantastic seasons fighting for the world championship but arriving second, so I needed some new motivation, [a] new project that I could trust and I could believe is the only way to become champion again.

Fernando Alonso

“After one difficult season I learned so much. I enjoy working with McLaren, with Honda, with all the Japanese discipline and Japanese culture in the team. I still remain very positive.

“I’m very, very happy and looking forward to next year being a little bit easier than this one, [which] has been difficult in terms of results”.

McLaren team mate Button paid tribute to Alonso when speaking to the British media in Abu Dhabi, claiming that he finds the Spaniard more consistently competitive than world champion Lewis Hamilton “On some race days, Lewis was untouchable, on others, it was like, ‘Where is he?’

“Lewis, I’m guessing, is a different driver now, more experienced, but Fernando’s always competitive. If he’s in front of you, you’re holding on, and if he’s behind you, he’s pushing you along,” said Button.

Alonso refused to predict how much McLaren can improve over the winter but he explained that the team’s main goal is to regain its position towards the front of the field and his is pleased with the work it has done so far to achieve that.

Fernando Alonso

He said: “At the moment there’s a question mark, I guess, where McLaren-Honda can be next year. There are a lot of expectations in the team. I think we worked really [hard] all season, being united in some difficult moments and always moving forward.

“I think for 2016 the main goal for the team is to come back to where we belong and being competitive, fighting for the top positions.

“I don’t know if that means fighting for the championship, I don’t know if that means fighting for victories or just being on the podium sometimes, that’s always difficult to know in a very complex sport like Formula 1.

“There are definitely some big challenges ahead in this winter and I see all the things that the team has done in the last couple of months and these seem very logical, very positive and I’m confident that it’s going to be a completely different season next year and I’m happy with the progress.”

Fernando Alonso

McLaren is currently just nine points behind Sauber in the constructors’ championship but Alonso explained that the team is not expecting to overhaul the Swiss squad as it is already focused on 2016.

He said: “[Sauber] are nine points ahead, I think, and we only scored points three or four times this year, so to score as many as ten in one race, in the final race is a little bit difficult but we will try to do our best.

“We will try to perform a good weekend but I think our minds are on next year’s project and probably half of the car is next year’s parts or next year’s philosophy as well. We are not too worried about beating Sauber this weekend or not.”

Fernando Alonso

How would you rate Alonso’s performances for McLaren in 2015? Will he become a three-time world champion while driving for the team? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.

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1

Can we all finally agree that Kimi was never great, rarely good but just plain average….his only memorable moments were when the car was competitive. There is no SEASON where Kimi pushed a bad car and got everything out of himself and the team. Knowing that he can’t win often enough to be champion but he can get points and be close enough to pinch the title if the guy in the top car has issues. So there is no Kimi season like Schumi’s 1996 season, Senna’s 1993 season or even Alonso 2012. There could have been….instead we just have moments, like Japan 2005. And that’s what Kimi is. A great talent who gave us a whole heap of average, yet unlike others who delivered very little the media were friendly enough to keep that in the background and focus on his qualifying speed. Add a whisper of his love of parties and vodka……boom, we get this ‘real racer crap’ James hunt 2.0. He mentions bad luck so often yet fails to mention that he has had more than his fair share of good luck and thats not including his 2007 world title. The missed opportunities at Lotus were blamed on strategy, pit stopt times and the unpredictability of the tyres. Yes, when Kimi gets back into a ‘top’ team, everyone will see the real Kimi………Well along came 2014 and Ferrari……….The Kimi fans believed wholeheartedly that their ‘iceman’ will put Alonso in his place. Unfortunately, for Kimi, Fernando remained at the top while our Finnish friend dropped further down the ladder. But this was difficult for Kimi fans and Alonso dislikes to fathom. Ahhh it must be Alonso the politician, not his ability that was at work. Alonso had the car suited to his driving style, Kimi had more bad luck, Alonso got the new parts (not that many worked at Ferrari anyway), must be team orders then……The only possibility that Kimi fans didn’t bring up was maybe our driver was never a top driver……in the Schumacher, Senna, Alonso, Vettel sense. Finally they settled on the fact Kimi can’t be .3 to . 6 seconds slower than anyone, which is true, what they didn’t factor into their reasoning was the big gap to Alonso was mainly due to his will to push every session, hunger to be his best in every session, to adapt to the car and get points on the board…..assert top status and Kimi starts to switch off…., if there is no chance, there is no Kimi.

So Kimi survives and his fans breath a sigh of relief. Roll on 2015 and James Allison will give Kimi the tools to show the doubters what he can do………deliver average in a high profile team and stay under the radar. This time he did less complaining to the media about trivial issues as to why he again has that .3 gap. He knows he is safe if that gap to the lead driver remains and he says the right things. He can at least control the latter!! I guess that’s his character. Resigns with lotus when wasn’t paid the previous season….tells media about the situation only AFTER signing with Ferrari……happy to not rock the boat and tag along next year as Vettel’s sidekick.

Beaten by Heidfeld, Massa, Alonso and now Vettel. However, maybe next year he could………admit he was pushing all the time and compared to the best…..it was his best.

2

Rather than McHonda,he would be far more likely to get another title with Mercedes or Red Bull. However, I believe Ferrari and Vettel will take the championship title in 2016.

3

It’s true that driving for McLaren is the only shot he has at another title, but that’s because McLaren is the only big team which will give him a drive. Ferrari won’t take him back and Mercedes won’t take him either. Red Bull are committed to their own stable of talented drivers. So unless Alonso want’s to go back to Renault (and would they take him after he left them twice?) he’s got no other realistic option.

4

All drivers say thank you to Fernando: the worse menace for all drivers is totally deactivated

I say “Thank you” to Jean Todt and his rules

This F1 is about Eco-tech & Engineers, not human skills. Now more than ever, big car brands can control this discipline and the “best product”, the most profitable wins.

Enjoy

5

But McLaren was doing a bad job even with the V8 engine, not as bad as this time, but also the latest V8 Honda was not a fantastic job, they retire for their bad performance. If you see, in detail, McLaren has been in a decline spiral for more than a decade, with just one WDC in 16 years! you can’t blame the current rules for that.

6

Formula One for me is all about Innovators and it seems they’re a dying breed. There are very few left and those that are, are not up to Mr. Alonso’s standard’s. Take last year’s Ferrari and set it against this year’s Ferrari and you’ll find that Allison has had little to do with the speed of it. What we’ve been watching all year, whether we’re talking ferrari, merc, williamsi or red bull is all down to Newey, no one else. Vettel brought it with him from Red Bull because it’s useful for pace not power as everyone thinks. Possibly early next year or certainly mid season Ferrari will be in a position to match the mercs and this will be down to Jock Clear, ex merc, but I’ll bet it’ll be in the media as ‘Allison makes major breakthrough’ when it’s nothing of the sort! So again Mr. Alonso will be in line for a major pounding. He can take it! He’s far more professional than people give him credit for. He simply craves, more than most, for the machinery to do the job. He has the necessary vision within a team which can lead him astray, he simply can’t see what is or isn’t happening at Red Bull or Ferrari. At Mclaren though he’s hit paydirt and not a moment too soon or too late, not for him mind, but for us the general public because that’s who’s interest he’s likely to inspire. It isn’t going to be a one horse race at Mclaren though as there’s Button to consider. He will take points away from his teammate but through consistency he’ll be professional about climbing his particular mountain, that’s his forte and exactly what has made him what he became and is. Unfortunately the mercs have moved on from their advantage and are now heavily into tyre preservation.

I suspect they’re managing this by using two fuel cells, one containing high octane fuel whilst the other contains equally high octane fuel but has additives in it that slow the burn time down during all after corner acceleration. It isn’t rocket science and does require compensatory equipment but it’ll heat or preserve tyres as and when either of these conditions are needed. Testing of this system ahead of Mr. Clear’s arrival at Ferrari will have been ongoing (Mexico, I think was one such little sideshow) as they’ll no doubt consider it paramount to be alive to the fact that another team might find themselves as lucky as they have been!

As for Alonso’s performance at Mclaren this year anyone could have done as well and can he achieve his ambition at Mclaren? Yes he can, as he has more than enough ability on track, it’s off track where he needs to practise his practice. Casting around aimlessly without knowing where the fight is, I think he knows now that he’ll only hurt himself. 2012 was a very good year for Alonso but he was being baited by Vettel who likes,… no!… Who enjoys living dangerously. I am expecting better for 2016 and that’s based on three teams. Ferrari, merc and McLaren. All three will no doubt come out fighting with what they have or will quickly end up with. You heard it here on JAonF1. Let the best man win!

7

What’s the secret to getting a long comment like that through the filters?

8

Do it in one write

The problem seems to be when people pause and start again

We have a new system for comments being installed in the next month, so hopefully that will be the end of it

9

Rating: Who knows. He’s finished so few races and hasn’t really blown JB away (depending on how you rate him).

Will he win another with Mclaren. I’d have to say, no. Can’t see them turning it around quick enough.

Shame, but probably true.

10

honda will be back next year with a bigger turbo and improved energy harvesting. we will just have to wait and see how much laptime the team wil gain.

11

I am not fan of him. But as a F1 fan I miss watching him fighting for victories.

He is a very determined and fast driver. Very rarely makes mistakes.

I do not think he pushed 100% this season, but anyway I expected to had a bigger gap to Button and that was not the case, hats off to Button.

Just compare how much advantage he had against Kimi last year and compare it to Vettel’s obe to the fin in 2015 to really aprreciate which party really lost when he moved to Mclaren.

12

Vettel’s performed similarly well vs Kimi as Alonso did.

13

A shame that one of the best drivers on the grid is languishing at the back while Honda develop their PU in public.

But the reality is that he only has himself to blame for the predicament he’s in through some terrible choices regarding teams to drive for. He left a championship winning McLaren (after the 2007 rivalry with Hamilton) to go to the struggling Renault. Stayed at Ferrari for far too long when Mercedes could’ve been an option in 2012 (Alonso could have picked up that drive instead of Hamilton if he made the right noises). Then left Ferrari just as they hired James Allen and started winning again.

So when he says “McLaren is the only way I can be Formula 1 world champion again” – I guess when no-one else will now have him, he’s right.

14

“Then left Ferrari just as they hired James Allen and started winning again.”

James, do you work for the Scuderia? 😛

15

Only when there’s an R in the month!

16

I think you should have said “two of the best drivers on the grid”!

17

Give him half a car and he’ll win another champioship! I see McHonda as the dark horse next year. Alo’s only problem is the dulling of his skills whilst driving that horse and cart. I thought Renaulr was bad but Honda have been diabolical this year! It’s probably a software problem, leading to a communication problem between their problematic hardware. Get that sorted and they’re definitely in with a shot.

How would I rate Alo? I’d rate him as a passenger.

18

Just because I like causing arguments the next McLaren WDC will be Stofell Vandoorm in 2018, sorry Fernando fans but if Honda are 3 years behind 2017 regulation changes are his and Jenson’s only hope for another WDC

19

He had no option, unfortunately. Ferrari pulled the plug once Vettel decided to join the team, the bulls closed the doors. Miracle McLaren got him on board after past years saga. Alonso is history, sad reality.

20

How would you rate Alonso’s performances for McLaren in 2015? No idea

Will he become a three-time world champion while driving for the team? No

21

His performance was not the best this season as he was not motivated. Remember him shouting “GP2 engine” in Japan while driving a car powered by a Honda engine? Whether he becomes a three-time world champion while driving for McLaren depends on how long he intends to stay with McLaren, or in F1. Also, he is not getting younger, so his abilities are declining while there are young guns hungry for success. He may pull it off, but the odds are against him.

22

Interesting comments from JB saying he rates Alonso higher than Hamilton and a tougher competitor. Gutted Alonso left la Scuderia. Still the best driver on the grid with Vettel and Hamilton. Its’s difficult to split the three. They all have their qualities.

23

He did caveat that by saying that Hamilton is probably a better driver now with more experience………….I thought he was spot on with his verdict on both drivers.

24

The reality is if you put Lewis, Seb and Fernando in the same car it would come down to reliability and luck as to who came out on top. It would be very close between them, some tracks suiting one of them while others suit another etc.

25

Hamilton isn’t really in that class. He’ll get shown up next year if Ferrari can challenge. I think Rosberg would handle that pressure far better.

26

10/10 for effort my friend… 10/10 🙂

27

He is in that class read what Button said.

Whether he can handle the pressure we will see, he did handle it well last year with all the reliability issues and falling so far behind points wise.

28
Tim the formula 1 expert

Honesty? What else was Button going to say?

“Oh nah, Hamilton was way better than the current guy on my Masters $40,000,000 payroll.”

Think about it.

29

It is interesting to read Button’s comments on both Alonso and Hamliton on the BBC website. Button has done well to slightly out score both of these drivers.

30

Glen

Outscore due to mechanical issues in both instances.

What can be said he has certainly held his own.

31

Actually Button had the same number of mechanical DNF’s as Hamilton while they drove together. Hamilton had many more DNF’s in total but that’s because he was involved it a lot of crashes.

32

That say’s it all!!! 🙂 🙂

33
Thread the Needle

The problem for Fernando is that even if Mclaren build a fast car, they are still liable to mess it up, that one of the reasons why Hamilton left

34

If he stayed at ferrari it would have been at best 2nd place again this year. If he had gone to red bull he would have caught the current engine issue. There is only one option that may have worked , mercedes. But they were nowhere till last year.

He is somewhere they will use unlimited resources so I bet he sleeps a sound sleep.

35

I think this is the first true statement I’ve heard from Alonso in a decade.

And it is true – Mclaren is his only option. What team principal would go through the drama and Napoleon complex of trying to sign a racer past his prime that has a history of internal team destruction and has no ability to develop a car.

The landscape has changed. Max/Carlos/riccardo/the Russian and a whole stable of young merc and red bull drivers are much better options than this guy. He knows it.

36

Layercake,

You rate Max Carlos and Ricardo and kyvate, busdt a red bull thing going on then

You forget that Ferrari bought Kimi back to teach Alonzo a lesson on how to drive for Ferrari and he did wipe the floor with him

Also Massa had big backing at Ferrari and as such they would try to develop the car to his suiting rather than challenge RED BULL with Alonzo

He dragged the Ferrari to where it finished in those 5 years and all sane fans and teams know this

Mercedes dont need Alonso, your right but they dont need Hamilton either

Max could drive that car to championship winning title

But they signed Hamilton

The rules and restricted testing with development have handicapped any team not quick last day of test before season starts

But honestly when fans start to belittle a Double world champion to Rookies then the F! show has surely lost what was the greatest arena for racing drivers to now what a good Engineer can do pre season,

37

AxelC

No the Maclaren team backing the rookie,

In fact the whole thing was a PR night mare, what with maclaren holding Ferrari’s spec’s

first afro british racing driver

The FIA would rather booted the whole team out of 2007 thats why maclaren were struck off from the champuionship

they wanted to remove the drivers too,

so in fact I dont think either driver had the right that year to race,

I believe that had Hamilton or Alonso won enough points to be champion the FIA would have found a loop hole to extract em

so im sorry to say but 2007 does not count

James what your view regarding had the alternative result happened, would it had held or would the FIA searched to of had them disqualified?

Thanks Mike

38

It’s funny because a rookie defeated that double time champion

39

Even if Alonso is “past his prime” (which I would question given 2014 was arguably his best season to date), he is still a phenomenal driver. We are talking about one of the greatest drivers in the sports history here – even if he is a year past his peak he will still perform better than just about anybody. If you carefully analyse his season to date, the McLaren pairing suddenly becomes one of the most one-sided line-ups on the grid, in Alonso’s favour.

40

2014 arguably his best season ever? The only person I heard saying that apart from you was Alonso himself. But, then again, he knew the tide changed at Maranelo and was posting himself to the highest bidder. You, I believe, are only taking his words at face value.

41

And I was thinking Button is ahead of him in points this season. Clearly, I’m mistaken. 😀

42

If you’re dumb enough to evaluate Alonso’s 2015 season then ur dumb enough to think he’s still one of the best.

If you’re saying as a team principal you’d go out of your way to sign Alonso vs max/Carlos/riccardo/vettel/Hamilton then your just about smart enough to run a team like marussia.

This might also be a reasons why you’re no TP in real life.

43

I remember watching him in F3000, he was clearly special. I hope he does get another championship.

44

@ tim w….we agree on something!!!!! i too hope to see alonso fighting for wins. he is an exciting driver to watch and his fights with webber at times were some of the very best i have seen. i have just never quite understood the bitterness and rancour levelled at him. his talents are beyond reproach, IMO of course.

45

Kenneth, I have always though Alonso a brilliant driver, and it seems time has mellowed him (a bit). Loved the deck chair thing in Brazil!

46

“Bitterness and rancour levelled at him” – Really??

I thought he invited those comments with his actions and comments.

47

Ken

Probably to do with the shenanigans at Mclaren and his insistence of No1 status.

There is no doubting his exceptional talent!

48

If anyone is going to knock Mercedes off the top spot it will be a German in a red car.

Tough break ALO; sport is tough sometimes.

Not many people will doubt McLaren are going to get there eventually just not soon enough for either JB ro FA to be there when it happens.

49

Yeah, time is not on his side. He’s 34 already and McLaren look extremely unlikely to be a title winning team next year.

50

Yes but 3 or 4 of those DNF’s were when he was leading a GP and the gear boxes failed all in 2012 which hastened his move to Merc

51

The Ferrari team when Fernando was there has change a fair bit. While he might still be right in that Ferrari won’t catch Mercedes any time soon, they are bound to at some point. Mercedes or whichever team is the team to beat at that point in time. Same can be said for McLaren I hope. Yet, it is hard to imagine McLaren getting there before the Scuderia. Will Fernando get the third title he craves for? Each passing year make it that much more unlikely, but should it come, it will be an epic story. I surely hope he gets to achieve the goal is started to go for in the sport. Marc

52

Honestly, what a lot of [Mod] (aka PR nowadays)
I guess he have to keep the honesty to himself (although in Japan he left it go just a bit)

Hindsight is a wonderful thing, if only he could see he will have the most disappointment McLaren season in history, for sure, Ferrari was worth another season.

53

Japan only? Monza and his mechanics tell a different story.

54

Apologies to the moderador.

I miss the monza one, what happened?

55

Do the teams have to pay some kind of fee to each track organiser?

Because the Lotus (again) weren’t allowed to bring their equipment in to track. Bernie had to pay for them.

56

Alonso world champion 2017 (at Enstone)

57

Alonso world champion 2017 (WEC).

58

Alonso,Webber,Hartley 2017?

Porsche is going to be on the top step for a while. And Webber wont be walking away any time soon. It would be Epic.

JB for Toyota??

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