Fernando Alonso insists the McLaren-Honda project remains “exciting” rather than depressing.
At the sharp end of the grid, rumours are linking Lewis Hamilton with a move from F1 pacesetter Mercedes to the increasingly resurgent Ferrari.
But Spaniard Alonso – who according to some is the very best driver in F1 today – left Ferrari last year and is now bringing up the rear as Honda struggles to get up to speed.
In some ways, the former two-time world champion’s career has gone full circle, as he started life as a backmarker some fourteen years ago at Minardi.
But Alonso says he is not worried.
“If I had never won anything or I had no contract,” he told El Confidencial, “if I had to make a living or I was 21, I would be worried.
“But I am 33 and I have been lucky enough to win many things. So this challenge just seems very exciting,” Alonso insisted.
However, as he contemplated leaving Ferrari last year, he admitted that despite his 32 wins and two titles, he would “give my right arm” for more success.
Now, he insists: “You have to take the positive side of everything.
“At the moment you feel a bit frustrated on a Sunday because of course I want to be on the podium with champagne, but on Monday I know it is the challenge of my life, trying to build up something from as low as possible.
“That is a challenge that will give a satisfaction that I have never had,” Alonso added.
So for now, having raced around at the tail end of the field for the first few races, things seem better in Bahrain, as Alonso posted midfield laptimes in Friday practice.
But he insisted: “I am not concentrated on position 13, 15 or 17. It is a second priority to making sure we can fight (in the future) for much more important results.” (GMM)