Fernando Alonso says he has never felt better ahead of a Formula 1 season, as he returns to McLaren.
Alonso rejoins McLaren after an absence of seven years, and after a winter of relaxation, the Spaniard says he is brimming with motivation, as he looks to return McLaren to winning ways in 2015.
“Although the winter period is a time for rest and relaxation from racing, my motivation could not be stronger for the new season,” he said at the launch of the team’s 2015 car on Thursday.
“I’ve done a lot of training during the winter break, to reach my peak physical fitness, and I’ve been working hard in preparation for this new era of McLaren-Honda. I’ve never felt better, or more ready for a new season.
“Of course, we’re prepared for a steep learning curve, but it’s clear to see that inside McLaren-Honda there’s total commitment, and a real change in feeling, as we start this new partnership.
“We’re all focused on the challenge ahead, and I feel extremely honoured to be part of a relationship that has shared so much history together.
“My aim is to help write a new chapter in the history of McLaren-Honda. We understand the effort and teamwork required to take McLaren-Honda back to where it should be, at the front of the grid, and all our energy as a team is focused on that goal.
After two decades with Mercedes, McLaren welcomes back former partner Honda as its engine supplier in 2015.
Honda lacks the mileage of its engine rivals Mercedes, Ferrari and Renault, and Alonso admits that he is under no allusions that it could be a tough winter for McLaren.
“Our first target will be to learn the maximum from the car at the pre-season tests, understand the package, and extract as much performance as possible,” he continued.
“That won’t be easy or trouble-free, but we’re ready for that. Why? Because our key focus will be on development. Historically, McLaren has already been characterised by its ability to bring updates to the car quickly, and develop a strong package.”
Alonso will debut McLaren’s 2015 car on the opening day of pre-season testing at Jerez on Sunday.
“It’s going to be a real privilege to be the first person to drive the new McLaren-Honda MP4-30 at Jerez, and I can’t wait to begin what I’m certain will be a very exciting new chapter in my career,” he said.
“I’m as motivated now as I was when I was given my first opportunity at the wheel of an F1 car.”
This article first appeared on Richland F1 – Images courtesy of McLaren