In a recent interview with ESPN, two-time Formula 1 World Champion Fernando Alonso stated that he believes only McLaren or Mercedes, not Ferrari, could help him win one more world title.
Fernando Alonso World Title Chances are Better with Mercedes or McClaren
Fernando Alonso’s future with McClaren seems all but secure with recent statements made to ESPN F1. In the interview, he states that he has no ill will towards Ferrari. However, “How competitive I can be or my third world championship hopes, then you drive for Mercedes or McLaren-Honda”. What’s interesting to note is how the two teams have performed this year. While McLaren-Honda struggled in 2015, 2016 has seen major improvements. While McLaren has seen success and their drivers now in the top-10, Ferrari has seen a dip in quality. After three wins from Sebastian Vettel in 2015, they’ve struggled for consistency this season. So much so that they let go of their technical director earlier this year and are looking to make more changes.
This season has seen the Spaniard with no wins and his highest finish being fifth at the Monaco Grand Prix. On top of that, he only has 26 points compared to the 122 and 120 points that the Ferrari drivers hold.
McLaren’s improvements can be seen on track however, as already they have scored eight top-10 finishes; last year, they only scored five for the entire season. Like Renault, McLaren are working on a new power unit and are already looking forward to next year, even if they might still struggle.
Alonso Looks to the Future
Even with his optimism, this doesn’t mean that Alonso thinks McLaren can win right away. He clarifies that “We really don’t care too much and we are just concentrating on being world champions. Being world champions requires a big improvement for next year and a lot of the efforts for this year are with a view to next year’s car, so all the new parts that we are trying are being used in a way to understand what direction to go next year.”
Alonso goes on to say that the priority for the team is the 2017 season and their new power unit. He indicates this is the main limitation the team faces right now. It seems as though “The priority is totally focused on 2017 in our heads.”
What makes this interview so interesting is that, looking back to last season, McLaren struggled as much as Manor F1. This is a team that people did not expect a lot from this season. Yet McLaren have proudly shown off, taking advantage of two new teams to catapult themselves into or near top-10’s. Clearly it seems as though the team could make a run in the next couple of years if they can get the power unit situation solved. This seems to be the issue for a majority of teams. The big question McLaren face however, is their second driver. Can Alonso win if the team loses Jenson Button? Can they find a good replacement if they do lose him? Nonetheless, the two-time world champion feels like this team is one of the best teams to be in to win a world championship.
MONTMELO, SPAIN – MARCH 01: Fernando Alonso of Spain and McLaren Honda drives during day one of F1 winter testing at Circuit de Catalunya on March 1, 2016 in Montmelo, Spain. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)