Alonso sees podiums as realistic target in 2015
Fernando Alonso says McLaren Honda has to be realistic about its chances next year and believes scoring podiums is a reasonable goal.
Alonso joins McLaren in search of a third world championship after five years at Ferrari without a title, but is under no illusions as to how difficult the first season for McLaren and new engine supplier Honda will be.
"We can never say we will not win the world championship, who knows. But we have to be realistic, knowing that the deficit on the chassis side was important I think for McLaren this year, and the power unit is something we need to put in place and get experience [with]. Hopefully we can get everything right from the first race but you never know. The 2014 cars show us how complex is this F1.
"But we will see. I think a reasonable level of competitiveness will be to fight for podiums, hopefully to win races in 2015, that will be a good sign for our future. We will see how things develop, because if we can manage to have a good winter, have a little bit of luck… we saw even this year the big advantage Mercedes had, and we didn't know if [Daniel] Ricciardo could fight for the championship until the end. So I think we have to put us in a good position, a competitive position, and after that it is up to Jenson and me as well to construct something."
Alonso returns to McLaren seven years after he fell out with team boss Ron Dennis in dramatic fashion and left the under a cloud. He said his motivation to come back was fuelled by a desire to set things straight.
"All those years I had only one feeling remaining to do: I was happy with everything I had done apart from 2007. I didn't achieve, didn't deliver, the best of myself. So now seven years later, more mature, you learn things and understand things probably you didn't at 25 years old, and now I arrive to finish this job I started in 2007. This was the first priority to come back.
"Ron and I have spoken a lot during the year, we have been together for some dinners and I want to say some hotel rooms but it sounds very bad! And you know, we both understand ultimately that we both are extremely competitive, we love motor racing - so much that sometimes we didn't agree. But as I said, when you are 25 you think differently."