DAYTONA BEACH, Florida – Fernando Alonso is optimistic about the prospects for McLaren in the 2018 Formula One season now that the team has switched from Honda to Renault engines.
And at the individual level, the Spaniard is looking forward to reaching the podium for the first time since 2014, when he finished third in the Chinese Grand Prix as a driver for Ferrari.
“I want to dream big and I hope we can try the champagne this year,” he told EFE after what he described as a satisfactory performance in his first-ever endurance race, the Rolex 24 in Daytona.
“We want to reach a podium, at least,” Alonso said of McLaren, whose last F1 victory came in the 2012 Brazilian Grand Prix with Jenson Button behind the wheel.
A long title drought indeed for a team that has won 12 driver’s championships and eight constructor’s trophies.
“It’s difficult to set objectives with all the changes we’ve made. We don’t know where we will be and we’ll adjust after the early races,” Alonso said.
Even so, he said, spirits are high at the McLaren works in Woking, England.
“We have more in the way of facts, and not just words, this year. And with the change to the Renault engine I believe we can take a big step forward,” the 36-year-old driver said.
Unlike last year, when he skipped the Monaco Grand Prix to drive in the Indianapolis 500, Alonso says that McLaren is his “first and only priority” in 2018.