Fernando Alonso believes he has not driven particularly well during the 2015 Formula 1 season, confessing that McLaren-Honda’s poor form has affected his motivation.
The 2005-’06 F1 champion and teammate Jenson Button’s grand prix weekends have regularly been stymied by engine penalties and unreliability, as Honda tried to get back up to speed after a six-season absence from the grid. Although Alonso has often prided himself on against-the-odds underdog achievements, he does not feel his driving this season has been very special.
Asked if he felt he had produced any particularly good performances, Alonso replied: “From me? I don’t think so. I did some good laps here and there. I remember Japan, qualifying two, I think the lap was at the limit.
“The whole Austin race was good in difficult conditions – wet, dry, dry tires on a damp track, etc. There I felt confident with the car and able to push. Apart from these two moments, I don’t think that I have had the best season.
“Definitely I need to improve for next year. When you are running at the front and you have more motivation, that helps of course. I’m on standby, let’s say, in economy mode. I will have more energy next year.”
Despite his admission that McLaren-Honda’s poor form had sapped his motivation in 2015, Alonso insisted he would make the best of next year if the team remained off the pace.
“Definitely it would be a frustrating year and it would be sad news, because we have high hopes for next year and I really trust the team and believe we have the talented people and resources to do well,” he said of the prospect of an uncompetitive 2016 car.
“If we go to testing and we have a bad car, first it will be a surprise for me, it will be a disappointment for me. But I don’t think it will be a problem, it will just be another year of learning and preparing for 2017.
“It will be sad to do that from the beginning, but it would be a surprise for me if we are not very, very competitive next year. We have everything – the car is responding well, aerodynamically we have the direction to go in, we are improving and I see when I am on the track how we attack the corners and how fast we are in the corners, so I am not afraid that next year’s car will not be at the top level.”