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via McLaren F1 via McLaren F1

"Optimistic" Alonso targets F1 title after McLaren shakedown

Written by  Feb 24, 2018

A "very optimistic" Fernando Alonso has set the target of challenging for the Formula 1 title in 2018 after completing the first shakedown of his new McLaren on Friday.

Following an online launch early doors, the Spaniard and teammate Stoffel Vandoorne put the first laps on the papaya-coloured MCL33 at the Navarra circuit in Spain before heading off for the start of pre-season testing, which begins in Barcelona on Monday.

After what appeared to be a smooth day back behind the wheel, Alonso talked up expectations, suggesting the "good times are coming back" at the British team.

“It’s an important moment for McLaren," he continued, talking to Sky Sports. "After a couple of years of not fighting for the championship, it’s time to come back to that position."

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Given the massive deficit between the Woking-based outfit and the front, it would require an awful lot for a simple change from Honda engines to Renault for this year to be in contention but the former double world champion sees no reason not to aspire.

"In winter testing we need to make sure we optimise this package but so far I’m very happy and very optimistic," he said. "I think the team did an amazing job the last couple of months.

“It’s difficult to say right now [how competitive we will be] because nobody knows where everyone is. I hope McLaren will be in the fight.

"Mercedes and Hamilton, because they are the world champions right now, they have to start as favourites," Fernando admitted, "but hopefully McLaren can be right there.”


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