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Fernando Alonso: "McLaren has made logical gains" - but is it the two seconds they are chasing?

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Fernando Alonso: "McLaren has made logical gains" - but is it the two seconds they are chasing?
Jan 5, 2016, 11:27 PM

Fernando Alonso believes that McLaren and Honda have made “logical” improvements to their power unit as they chase a two-second laptime gain ov...

Fernando Alonso believes that McLaren and Honda have made “logical” improvements to their power unit as they chase a two-second laptime gain over the off-season.

The British team endured its worst season since 1980 as it finished ninth in the constructors championship and scored just 27 points in 2015, the first year it resumed its partnership with Honda.

But Alonso explained that the team would not be making any fundamental changes to its chassis as it had identified solutions for the power unit that the Spanish driver hopes will bring the two-second improvement he had targeted at the end of last season.

XPB.cc Fernando Alonso

He said: "We know the power unit has been our main limitation, so there are no radical changes for in terms of [car] design and philosophy.

"We know the deficit we have on the straights compared to other cars. So if we apply some of the solutions and everything is working as we expect, the laptime benefit will be very big.

"There are solutions in place which are logical and quite good and keep the motivation very high because I think [2016] will be a completely different picture.

"We have been through some difficult times, but I think we learned from it. We have kept united, working in harmony and that was the positive thing. The negative thing has been the results."

Fernando Alonso

But Alonso is wary that the rest of the F1 grid will have been working hard over the winter months and he expects his team’s rivals to have found improvements to their own designs that will make it harder for McLaren to catch up.

He said: "Everyone will improve between 0.5s and one second. With us being two seconds off the pace, we need to do more than 0.5s or one second. The power unit will be the main thing to unlock this potential."

XPB.cc Jenson Button

Alonso’s teammate, Jenson Button, agreed that the off-season was vital for the squad to find solutions to its 2015 woes, but stopped short of predicting a McLaren victory this year.

He said: "We've learned so much this year with the power unit, with the idea of the aerodynamics of the car, because it's very different to a normal McLaren, so there is a lot of learning to take from this season.

"This winter is a very important one for us, to make those big changes and come out a lot stronger next year because we don't want to be where we are, we want to be fighting near the front.

"Whether we can win races or not, that's another question but I think we can at last fight at the front next year."

Jenson Button

Button also has one eye on the changes to F1’s technical regulations that will come into force in 2017, as it is common for new rules to shake up the sport’s competitive order and that could aid McLaren’s quest to get back to the front of the grid.

He said: "You can gain [from rule changes] because it will be brand new for everyone. It's a clean slate and hopefully that will help teams who aren't at the front right now catch up.

"It's difficult right now with the regulations the way they are to bridge the gap to the other guys."

The video below examines what went wrong for McLaren and Honda in 2015 and what they need to do to improve in the second year of their partnership.

Do you think McLaren will find the gains it is targeting over the winter? Does F1 need the team to be fighting at the front of the grid? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.

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Series Formula 1
Drivers Fernando Alonso Shop Now
Teams McLaren Shop Now