The only question mark is how McLaren will respond to the new aerodynamic regulations for 2017, according to Fernando Alonso.
Next year is the last in the famous Spaniard’s three year deal with the Anglo-Japanese outfit, and he told Auto Motor und Sport that he has no doubt Honda is up to the engine challenge.
“Mercedes will be hard to beat,” he told the German magazine when pondering next year’s regulations.
“Not just for us — for everyone,” added Alonso. “But I think we can be close enough to fight.
“I am 100 per cent convinced that Honda will find the performance we need. On the aerodynamics side, there are bigger questions. You have to have some luck.
“Who knows what car philosophy will be the right one: who will interpret the rules correctly, and who does not? It may well be that one goes to the left, one goes to the right, and after four races you realise you went the wrong way,” he said.
But although the media has constantly pressed Alonso on his decision to leave Ferrari for the struggling McLaren-Honda project, the 35-year-old insists he was right.
“Every day I say that to myself,” he said.
“I am happy. I drive in the best team of my career,” Alonso explained. “The level of knowledge, the focus on detail, the analysis, the organisation, I have not experienced anywhere else.
“All we need is a fast car. I spent five years with Ferrari, and if I had spent two more years there, I would probably be sad and frustrated now.
“When I was there, I fought at least twice for the title, but today I would be sixth instead of second,” said Alonso.
Finally, when asked about the ambition of the 2017 rules, Alonso backed the goal of making F1 faster and more spectacular by speeding up the cars next year.
“I am hopeful,” he said. “All the drivers, all the bosses, all the organisers, all the TV stations agreed that something must change.”
And he also agreed that the physical challenge will be significantly tougher for the drivers in 2017.
“It will be harder, no question,” said Alonso. “We’ll have to train more.
“When you get tired, you make mistakes. This year, we were about five seconds per lap faster in Malaysia because of the new asphalt, and it was by far the most physically demanding race. In 2017, all the races will be like that.”