McLaren progress will dwarf that of other teams in 2018 - Alonso

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McLaren progress will dwarf that of other teams in 2018 - Alonso

McLaren are one of several teams expected to introduce key auto upgrades for the season-opener and Alonso is expecting the season's early weeks to produce immediate development steps.

But an upbeat Alonso is confident those issues are behind them and McLaren have a auto that is capable of being the best of the rest behind Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull. "We had some ups and downs in testing and some reliability issues but those issues are now fixed". But we should be there in a couple of races time or in the second part of the championship or something, because we are McLaren so we should be there.

McLaren have switched to Renault engines this year after ending their relationship with former partner Honda last year because of lack of performance and reliability from the power-unit.

"I think being in the points, being close to the top five, I think that will be the best thing we can do to start the season", he continued. It should be a good season for us, getting back to the positions that we will enjoy a little bit more.

Boullier knows that the team can not expect "miracle" results straight away, but everyone is excited to get the new year underway at a venue where the fans show great enthusiasm. They were not a hard solution, but you need time in the factory.

"I think we have a good baseline and a good vehicle to work with".

Since crossing to McLaren, Alonso has been stuck on 97 podium finishes, his last with Ferrari at the Hungarian Grand Prix in 2014.

Meanwhile, the main source of their troubles in recent seasons - the Honda power unit - was breathing new life into Toro Rosso, Pierre Gasly and Brendon Hartley setting competitive times as well as impressive mileage.

"I think during the season we will improve a lot".

"What we will see here is going to be important, but it will be better and better".

McLaren moves on to a new chapter of its history this weekend, but while ready to race, the team's level of preparation isn't the best admits racing director Eric Boullier. "I expect the second half of the season, for example, a very strong McLaren".

'This will be our lowest level, ' said the Spaniard. Despite that, the vehicle showed good pace on the final day in Barcelona to raise hopes for a strong showing in Melbourne, and Boullier says there has been a major focus on having a reliable enough auto to show that performance at the opening race.

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