McLaren-Honda driver Fernando Alonso believes his team is capable of closing the gap to the front of the field by as much as two seconds during the winter break.
The Spanish driver even thinks that 2-seconds is the safe bet and that because improvements are said to come from “everywhere”, his Honda-powered racer should be even faster than previously stated.
“We’re a bit clearer with what the strengths of the car are and we need to exploit a bit more in that direction. We know the power unit has been our main limitation, so there are no radical changes for  in terms of [car] design and philosophy. We know the deficit we have on the straights compared to other cars. So if we apply some of the solutions and everything is working as we expect, the laptime benefit will be very big,” said the Spaniard.
While you might be tempted not to hold your breath until McLaren does improve as much as Fernando thinks they will, other teams seem to think that they’re going to have a much more competitive season as well – which would in theory mean that they’ll be mixing it up with the top-middle part of the pack (battling Force India, Toro Rosso and so on).
On top of that, Alonso believes his team has a much higher potential for improvement than rival outfits, saying that “Everyone will improve between 0.5s and one second. With us being two seconds off the pace, we need to do more than 0.5s or one second. The power unit will be the main thing to unlock this potential.”
Sure, odds are that McLaren and Honda’s relationship will be more solid in 2016, however considering their abysmal season in 2015, we’ll be waiting all the way until the Australian Grand Prix in order to pass judgement – since winter testing isn’t going to reveal all the teams’ true pace.
Also keep in mind that Alonso talked about his team gaining 2.5 seconds before, earlier during the 2015 season. He even said that if that was to be the case, they will “win next year”.
The expectations are surely enormous.
Story references: autosport