Fernando Alonso has admitted the allure of the McLaren-Honda partnership and its links to his idol Ayrton Senna, as well as the pair’s determination to succeed, made it impossible to pass on the opportunity to return to the team.
Alonso, who split with McLaren after a single acrimonious season in 2007, was officially unveiled as one half of the Woking-based team’s 2015 driver line-up alongside Jenson Button on Thursday.
The Spaniard revealed that he was first approached by the team and its returning partner Honda more than a year ago, and said that the pair’s perseverance and determination in capturing his signature, alongside the romanticism of emulating his hero Senna, had been a major factor behind his decision to commit.
“I have never hidden my deep admiration for Ayrton Senna, my favourite driver, my idol on track, my reference,” he said.
“I still remember, as a kid, the posters in my wardrobe, my toy cars in which I dreamed I would one day emulate Ayrton, and the kart that my father built for my older sister, and that I ended up falling in love with.
“That kart had the livery of one of the most legendary partnerships in the history of Formula 1, McLaren-Honda, the car that Ayrton drove, the same partnership to which I am now honoured to join, to take part in the next Formula 1 world championship.
“I am joining this project with enormous enthusiasm and determination, knowing that it may require some time to achieve the results we are aiming for, which is no problem for me.
“Over the past year I have received several offers, some of them really tempting, given the current performance of some of the teams that showed interest,” he added. “But, more than a year ago, McLaren-Honda contacted me and asked me to take part, in a very active way, in the return of their partnership – a partnership that dominated the Formula 1 scene for so long.
“McLaren-Honda’s repeated and open desire, perseverance and determination in making it possible for me to join their exciting renewed partnership, have been some of the main factors that made me take this decision, not forgetting the most important factor of all: we share a common objective and expectations, and there is a very solid future, with confidence, ahead.”
Alonso said a tour of McLaren and Honda’s facilities convinced him the partnership has what it takes to succeed in the future.
“I have had in-depth discussions with all the senior people at both McLaren and Honda, I have viewed their fantastic facilities in both the UK and Japan, and it is clear to me that, together, McLaren and Honda are in the process of beginning what is sure to be a long and successful partnership. And I intend to give 100% effort to help make it exactly that.
“Finally, I want to thank the persistence of those who have fought so hard for this to come true. I will do everything in my power to deliver for everyone and for our team, based on a formula that has always worked for me: effort, sacrifice, perseverance and faith.
“We have time, we have hopes and we have the necessary resources. Let the legend return: that is our challenge.”
Image courtesy of Scuderia Ferrari