JUNE 18, 2015
Alonso expected to struggle in 2015
Fernando Alonso expected to struggle when he made the switch from Ferrari to McLaren-Honda for 2015.
That is the claim of fellow Spaniard Carlos Sainz, the world rally legend and father of 2015 Toro Rosso rookie Carlos Sainz jr.
Whilst recovering from an Achilles heel injury suffered whilst playing football, 53-year-old Sainz was asked by the Spanish daily Marca about Alonso's current situation.
In Canada, Alonso's frustrations appeared to show for the first time when he declared on the radio that McLaren-Honda is making him appear "amateur" in 2015.
Sainz, however, said: "It is obvious that Fernando is thinking more long-term.
"He knew that, this year, he would probably have to go through something like this."
Among his Spanish supporters in particular, however, many believe the 33-year-old clearly made a mistake in choosing to leave the now-resurgent Ferrari.
"Choosing the best option is never easy," Sainz admitted, "because nobody has a crystal ball.
"But I think Fernando needed another challenge. Another motivation. When you've achieved what he has, it's also important to be with a team where you feel truly at ease, happy.
"I think he is comfortable now at McLaren," Sainz added.
He admitted, however, that Alonso's 'comfort' may be tested if McLaren-Honda does not make a big step forward for 2016.
"Fernando has said that this year he suffers and next year he expects to have a winning car," said Sainz.
"So I think if in 2016 he does not have a car to fight for the championship, it will be a difficult situation to accept. But for now, what is happening this year I think falls under the predictions that he had himself," he added.
If Alonso is wrong, however, the lure of yet another challenge might prove too strong, after McLaren-Honda reportedly blocked the Spaniard's desire to combine F1 with Le Mans in 2015.
Sainz commented: "I believe that Fernando is a great driver and will be for all his life. And with the winning personality that he has, he likes challenges.
"But I do not think that leaving formula one is on his mind," he said.