McLaren has endured a difficult phase from the Honda era up until its first season with Renault, facing all sorts of trouble at winter testing. The Woking-based outfit had to walk an insanely long path to reach a safe spot after the shakedown, and it looks like the first step has been made.
Both Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz have felt the thrill of topping the timesheets last week, providing the team and themselves with a healthy confidence boost.
The team has carved through its resources and assets, having spent a full year working closely with Renault after the switch between engine manufacturers was made. Ambassador Fernando Alonso confirms the positive feelings among the squad, stating that they are ploughing in the right direction
“I think this week we confirmed the picture of the car, so I think there are a couple of areas they need to revise and they need to keep developing to improve the performance. Some others are surprisingly good, so they are happy with the results and generally I think it has been a very positive two weeks.”
As for the all-new line-up, Alonso has nothing but kind words in store. “It’s a good combination of drivers and a good fit for the team as well, because a lot of the team is new and young and coming from different teams as well. I think it’s a very good integration with a fresh approach, and Carlos has probably more experience than Lando for sure with years in F1.”
“Lando has some natural talent -he added- but needs to be refined and with experience he will become stronger and stronger after the first grand prix.”
Alonso explains his role a bit more in depth, as he will be tasked with making sure the communication between engineers and drivers is effective. McLaren has dealt with a number of problems on this side in the past and the aim through the figure of Alonso, a driver who has experienced them firsthand, is to avoid them.
It is not clear when the Spaniard will be taking the MCL34 out for a spin this year, but he is already in charge with the aforementioned advisory role, which is considered part of the developmental programme he is inscribed in.