Fernando Alonso has told McLaren Formula 1 fans that “good times are coming” after he drove the MCL33 for the first time at the Navarra circuit in Spain.
McLaren’s 2018 challenger was revealed online early on Friday before it took to the track for a shakedown using one of its two allocated filming days.
Alonso was the first to drive the car and was positive about the future running Renault power after three difficult and frustrating years with Honda.
“Good times are coming, that’s the message,” said Alonso when asked to give a message to the fans. “We struggled, we kept the motivation very high and the team is stronger now than three years ago.
“What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. The last few years makes a very united team, a very strong team and we will see the first results this year.”
After his initial run in the car, which was at relatively low-speed and with camera trucks on track, Alonso said it “felt great.”
He added: “It’s always a special moment when you drive the car the first time. Everything feels good. I’m looking forward to doing a proper lap at full speed. So far, it’s good.
“We run behind some other cars, some cameras, some pickups with filming equipment and things like that so it’s not full speed but it’s still good for the sponsors.
“For us, it’s the first feel with the seat, the pedals, the comfort side of it. For the guys, [they can check] temperatures, maybe there are some bodywork adjustments we need to do.
“The good thing about these days is the emotional part. After very intense work in the factory the last few months, [I’m] very proud of the team.
“Finally the day arrives, the engine is running, the car is running, we’re all happy.”