McLaren’s Fernando Alonso believes that Mercedes’ advantage over the rest of the Formula 1 field may be greater than ever heading into the 2016 season.
Mercedes enjoyed a successful first pre-season test in Barcelona this week, completing more laps than any other team and suffering zero stoppages on-track or apparent issues with the new car.
Although the one-lap pace of the W07 is yet to truly be displayed, most are anticipating Mercedes to be clear of the rest of the pack once again at the first race of the year in Australia next month.
Speaking to reporters earlier this week, Alonso said that he believes Mercedes may be stronger now that it ever has been, even off the back of two world championship successes.
“I think the Mercedes domination has not finished. I think they are very, very strong,” Alonso said.
“They are doing some interesting things now in testing. That amount of laps means that you have very clear things.
“So when they put the potential as well, they are stronger than ever probably, even more than the last two years.”
Alonso endured a difficult 2015 campaign with McLaren as issues with the Honda power unit limited the Spaniard to just two points finishes.
Although he is not setting any firm expectations for the season ahead, he does believe that McLaren could have the strongest chassis on the grid by the beginning of the European season in May.
“I’m very proud of the team, of what we achieved in the past couple of months,” Alonso said.
“I think the target to have the best car, the best chassis is reachable, is something very possible, maybe by the European races or something like that.
“Motivation is very high, so who knows. There is not a magic solution or a crystal ball, but I would like to be competitive and to be fighting for something important. But honestly I don’t know.”