Alonso: McLaren's 2019 F1 car better "in every aspect"

Fernando Alonso says McLaren’s 2019 Formula 1 car is “a step forward in every aspect” compared to 2018, and believes the team can lead the midfield this season.

Alonso: McLaren's 2019 F1 car better "in every aspect"

McLaren has exceeded the expectations of its full-time drivers Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz in the opening two grands prix of the season, with Norris qualifying inside the top 10 for both races and finishing sixth in Bahrain last weekend.

Sainz battled with the Red Bull of Max Verstappen early in that grand prix, having previously described its top-10 qualifying pace as “unthinkable” after McLaren’s end to 2018, when Alonso ended his F1 career with six point-less races in a row.

After driving the MCL34 for the first time as he conducted Pirelli development work in F1’s Bahrain test on Tuesday, Alonso said: “It’s a step forward in every aspect of the car.

“The car has more grip, the car is less draggy on the straights, the engine is a big step better as well.

“Overall, as a package, the car is on the right direction.

“We saw in the first two races that there’s still another step to do if you want to compete with the top three teams.

“But as a first step, hopefully [McLaren can] consolidate as the fourth team or lead the midfield together with Haas.

“That’s the target and I felt that [potential] in the car as well.”

View also:

Alonso started the 2018 season in strong form, finishing fifth in Australia and seventh in Bahrain – despite starting 13th – and was fourth in the drivers’ championship as a result.

However, the aerodynamic limitations of McLaren’s MCL33, which was hamstrung by a problem developing the car in the windtunnel, meant Alonso’s season nosedived.

He believes McLaren is now in a position to consolidate its turnaround in form and make further gains.

“We’ve been working a lot for four or five years in the team, and we never had probably the momentum or never had the continuity on the progress,” he said.

“We had some good starts, some good moments, but never the continuation through the year.

“So, this year, there is a good baseline and a good programme of development.

“It’s going to be a much better season.”

Alonso said last year that McLaren did not improve its car after the Spanish Grand Prix and in Bahrain admitted it was “painful” to suffer that during his final season.

However, he insisted that getting behind the wheel of a better McLaren had no impact on his decision to walk away from grand prix racing.

“If one day I come back in F1, which I doubt because my plan is firmly to stop F1, [it] is if I [can] win a world championship,” he said.

“That possibility is tempting for any driver.

“But to finish seventh, sixth or even fourth, it’s not tempting.”

Additional reporting by Roberto Chinchero

shares
comments
Verstappen beats Schumacher to top first day of Bahrain test

Previous article

Verstappen beats Schumacher to top first day of Bahrain test

Next article

Schumacher: Ferrari F1 debut "felt like home" right away

Schumacher: Ferrari F1 debut "felt like home" right away
Load comments
How Tsunoda plans to achieve his F1 potential Prime

How Tsunoda plans to achieve his F1 potential

Yuki Tsunoda arrived in grand prix racing amid a whirlwind of hype, which only increased after his first race impressed the biggest wigs in Formula 1. His road since has been rocky and crash-filled, and OLEG KARPOV asks why Red Bull maintains faith in a driver who admits he isn’t really that big a fan of F1?

Formula 1
Oct 15, 2021
The danger of reading too much into F1's clickbait radio messages Prime

The danger of reading too much into F1's clickbait radio messages

OPINION: After Lewis Hamilton responded to reports labelling him 'furious' with Mercedes following his heated exchanges over team radio during the Russian Grand Prix, it provided a snapshot on how Formula 1 broadcasting radio snippets can both illuminate and misrepresent the true situation

Formula 1
Oct 14, 2021
How F1’s pole winner approach undermines drivers Prime

How F1’s pole winner approach undermines drivers

OPINION: Valtteri Bottas is credited with pole position for the 2021 Turkish Grand Prix, despite being beaten in qualifying. This is another example of Formula 1 and the FIA scoring an own goal by forgetting what makes motorsport magic, with the Istanbul race winner also a victim of this in the championship’s recent history

Formula 1
Oct 13, 2021
Turkish Grand Prix driver ratings Prime

Turkish Grand Prix driver ratings

On a day that the number two Mercedes enjoyed a rare day in the sun, the Turkish Grand Prix produced several standout drives - not least from a driver who has hit a purple patch of late

Formula 1
Oct 11, 2021
The hidden factors that thwarted Hamilton's bid for Turkey glory Prime

The hidden factors that thwarted Hamilton's bid for Turkey glory

Starting 11th after his engine change grid penalty, Lewis Hamilton faced a tough task to repeat his Turkish Grand Prix heroics of 2020 - despite making strong early progress in the wet. Instead, his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas broke through for a first win of the year to mitigate Max Verstappen re-taking the points lead

Formula 1
Oct 11, 2021
How pitstops evolved into an F1 art form Prime

How pitstops evolved into an F1 art form

A Formula 1 pitstop is a rapid-fire blend of high technology and human performance. PAT SYMONDS describes how the science of margin gains makes stops so quick

Formula 1
Oct 10, 2021
Why Mercedes' Istanbul edge is both stronger and weaker than it seems Prime

Why Mercedes' Istanbul edge is both stronger and weaker than it seems

Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton dominated the opening day of action for the 2021 Turkish Grand Prix, on the Istanbul circuit’s much improved track surface. But the Black Arrows squad’s position isn’t quite what it seems. Here’s why...

Formula 1
Oct 8, 2021
The rise and fall of Lotus as an F1 superpower Prime

The rise and fall of Lotus as an F1 superpower

On 8 October 1961, Innes Ireland claimed victory at the United States Grand Prix to herald the true arrival of a new Formula 1 giant. While Team Lotus endured plenty of highs and lows until the team folded over three decades later, Colin Chapman's squad made F1 history and helped shape the championship.

Formula 1
Oct 8, 2021