Fernando Alonso says he is determined to have a “long and successful partnership” with McLaren-Honda and hopes to follow in Ayrton Senna’s footsteps.
“I have never hidden my deep admiration for Ayrton Senna, my favourite driver, my idol on track, my reference,” Alonso, who has jumped to third favourite with Paddy Power to win the title, said.
“I still remember, as a kid, the posters in my wardrobe, my toy cars in which I dreamed I would one day emulate Ayrton, and the kart that my father built for my older sister, and that I ended up falling in love with. That kart had the livery of one of the most legendary partnerships in the history of Formula 1, McLaren-Honda, the car that Ayrton drove, the same partnership to which I am now honoured to join, to take part in the next Formula 1 world championship.”
One of the big draw cards for Alonso was the McLaren-Honda partnership with the Japanese manufacturer returning as engine supplier after an absence of more than 20 years.
McLaren finished fifth in this year’s Constructors’ Championship, but they are expected to take a big step forward if Paddy Power’s latest odds are anything to go by.
“I am joining this project with enormous enthusiasm and determination, knowing that it may require some time to achieve the results we are aiming for, which is no problem for me,” he said.
“Over the past year I have received several offers, some of them really tempting, given the current performance of some of the teams that showed interest. But, more than a year ago, McLaren-Honda contacted me and asked me to take part, in a very active way, in the return of their partnership – a partnership that dominated the Formula 1 scene for so long.
“McLaren-Honda’s repeated and open desire, perseverance and determination in making it possible for me to join their exciting renewed partnership, have been some of the main factors that made me take this decision, not forgetting the most important factor of all: we share a common objective and expectations, and there is a very solid future, with confidence, ahead.
“I have had in-depth discussions with all the senior people at both McLaren and Honda, I have viewed their fantastic facilities in both the UK and Japan, and it is clear to me that, together, McLaren and Honda are in the process of beginning what is sure to be a long and successful partnership. And I intend to give 100% effort to help make it exactly that.
“Finally, I want to thank the persistence of those who have fought so hard for this to come true. I will do everything in my power to deliver for everyone and for our team, based on a formula that has always worked for me: effort, sacrifice, perseverance and faith.
“We have time, we have hopes and we have the necessary resources. Let the legend return: that is our challenge.”
McLaren confirm Alonso and Button