For Fernando Alonso, there is little left to prove in a glittering career, but that does nothing to halt the competitive spirit:
“I think there’s a lot to admire about what we’ve achieved over the past 12 months. Sure, the results haven’t really showcased it, but we’ve really made progress, and I think the whole team has gelled together through those difficult times. Now, at a moment of significant regulatory change, we need to capitalise on that period of uncertainty to push forwards – and I’m confident that we’ve got the expertise to do just that.
“What I’ve seen of the MCL32 appears to be really promising – the new regulations seem to be well thought-out, and the cars look fast and aggressive. The look of the car makes me really want to get in the cockpit – I’ve lost none of that all-important hunger every Formula 1 driver needs. Training over the winter has gone well – I worked really hard – and I can’t wait to get going in the car as I say.
“We still think the start of the season will be a challenge – we can’t ignore the fact that we’re still coming from a significant step behind the current front-runners – but I’d like to think we can target the second half of the year as a time when we’ll really be able to start making useful performance steps. The aim is to look respectable this year – and I’d like to think we can achieve that.”
Yusuke Hasegawa, Honda’s Head of F1 Project & Executive Chief Engineer, sums up as follows:
“Based on our two years of acquired experience and constant progress, Honda has made big changes to the concept and layout of our 2017 power unit, the RA617H.
“The main areas of change that we focused on has been to decrease the weight and lower the centre of gravity, so as to improve the balance of the car, while generating more output from the ICE [internal combustion engine].
“Also, owing to the new 2017 regulations fundamentally affecting the design of our new car, Honda has made a lot of changes to accommodate the updated chassis. The team has therefore continued their hard work throughout the winter to find an ideal balance. “The pre-season test in Barcelona will be very important for us, so as to learn the functionality of the car as a whole.
“Our relationship with McLaren will continue to strengthen as we further progress technically and operationally this year, to achieve our ultimate goal.”