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Fernando Alonso Q&A: Early signs very promising for McLaren

22 May 2015

Dark clouds may have gathered over the Principality on Thursday, but for once they weren't centred over McLaren as Fernando Alonso impressed, even running as high as fifth in FP1. But what does that mean for the rest of the weekend? The Spaniard isn't getting carried away, but he admits the first points of 2015 could at least be on the cards...

Q: Fernando, what are your expectations for this Monaco weekend? You were near to finishing in the points in Spain - could it finally happen here?

Fernando Alonso: Yes, we were pretty close to getting points in Barcelona so I think here it will not be too different. Of course the aim is to get our first points, and it would be great if it happens here. 

Q: To win the Monaco Grand Prix is always very special - every driver wants to get to that situation. How is it for you knowing that you will not win? Have you conditioned yourself to that fact; can you be happy with a few points?

FA: Yes, you have to reset your expectations - every weekend and every year, depending on how competitive your package is. So it will have to be seen what we can do here. I have great memories of fantastic wins here, but for now it will be different. We are still at the beginning of a big project. I have frequently said that if you want to beat Mercedes it is the only way to do it: taking risk and having some extreme ideas on the car, as we have. It is better to risk than to be second forever. 

Q: Could the rule changes that are under discussion for 2017, especially the return of refuelling, help struggling teams?

FA: I am not sure if it can help struggling teams, but I hope that it helps Formula One. I hope that it is good for the sport. Realistically we are coming back to the rules we had in the past so it is some kind of admission that there have been mistakes made in the last four to five years regarding the rules. Coming back means that it was better before. You cannot run only one second quicker than a GP2 car and still think that the fans will follow. I hope 2017 will show again the true colours of Formula One: the fastest and most competitive cars in the world.

Q: Speed is not really what makes the difference here in Monaco - but what is?

FA: The driveability of the car. With so many slow-speed corners you need to have confidence in the car as a lot of lap time comes from the driver and their experience of how close you can go to the barriers and still have confidence. And I have to say that what I saw yesterday was very promising. 

Q: This track is very different to any other track on the calendar. Are you doing anything different here?

FA: No not really. Probably a bit more steering pressure to be a little bit more direct as you use a lot of lock on the steering on some of the slow-speed corners, but nothing more. In qualifying you risk a bit more because it is there that you put the weekend in your pocket. Sunday is just the execution of your Saturday performance and trying not to get mixed up with accidents or hit the wall.

Q: Thursday was a relatively good day for you, but with such little running in the afternoon and no chance to run the supersoft tyres what will you be up to on Saturday morning?

FA: First of all, I hope it is not raining! Then let's hope that we can run our programme. What will it be in qualifying? I have no idea. And in the end it does not really matter. I want to be champion again and I know that it will not be this year - so this season is the build-up of something big and I am working on that.

Q: Have McLaren-Honda brought any updates for this weekend?

FA: No, no updates for here.

Q: Then how do you explain your good times on Thursday?

FA: Because this is a very low power track, which means that the engine counts very little here, and the chassis is responding very well. How well we will see tomorrow afternoon.