“The start of a new season is always a special feeling, characterised by a lot of anticipation for the year ahead. This year is no different: I’m excited and raring to go,” said the Spaniard, who will be driving in Barcelona on Tuesday and Thursday.
After a productive winter, Alonso hopes he and McLaren can look forward to a much-improved 2016 campaign, following last season’s trials and tribulations which saw the former world champion score just 11 points.
“Last year the spotlight was very much on McLaren-Honda as we embarked on the first year of our renewed partnership,” he continued. “It was a tricky season for all of us, but we learned a hell of a lot.
“I’ve been training extremely hard, as usual, but also enjoying time with my family, and keeping tabs on all the hard work going on at the McLaren Technology Centre, Woking, where the McLaren guys have been doing an incredible job to get everything ready in time. The Honda boys have been working flat-out in Sakura, too.”
Commenting on the newly-unveiled MP4-31, Alonso added: “The aero package shows fantastic attention to detail. The whole car is beautiful in fact - it’s particularly nicely packaged from an aerodynamic point of view as I say - and I’m 100 per cent ready for the challenge ahead.”
The new car will make its track debut in Spain on Monday morning in the hands of Alonso’s team mate Jenson Button, who admitted he was itching to get back in the cockpit at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
“I really can’t wait to take the wheel of the new MP4-31 tomorrow,” said Button. “All Formula One drivers need a winter break, but I’m massively excited to get started on the 2016 season now, and I have to say the brand-new McLaren-Honda MP4-31 really looks the part.
“I’m not about to make any over-optimistic predictions - Formula One is far too unpredictable for me to do that - but, from what I’ve seen so far, the aero detailing on the car looks fantastic, and I’m really looking forward to beginning the process of testing those new innovations when I get behind the wheel tomorrow.”