MAY 19, 2015
Alonso eyes first points in Monaco
Fernando Alonso has renewed his claim that McLaren-Honda is now on the cusp of scoring its first points of 2015.
The Spaniard had headed into Barcelona recently with a similar prediction, but ultimately the race was so disappointing that teammate Jenson Button momentarily broke ranks and declared that the Woking team may not score at all this season.
"After a disappointing race, naturally it's easy to be frustrated when you step out of the car, especially when you feel you deserved more," Button now says.
"I firmly believe that we're making solid progress, which is why having a difficult race is hard to take," he added.
Alonso is also upbeat about Monaco and beyond, even declaring that the Honda-powered team might be knocking on the door of podium finishes later in 2015.
"I think we will get points in Monaco," he told Britain's Sky.
"(In Spain) our simulations until the retirement put us in ninth place, so (that) was already the first opportunity to get the points. In Monaco it will be the second," said Alonso.
Indeed, despite McLaren's apparent struggle, even the boss of the most impressive 'power unit' in F1 - the Mercedes - is impressed with Honda's progress.
"The way they are going about it, Honda are formidable," Mercedes' Andy Cowell told the BBC, "in their approach, investment and determination.
"I think they're doing the right thing. They're playing medium to long-term. They're not playing this season. This is R and D in the public domain," he added.
One of the most respected names in F1 media, however, is not sure Alonso has the "patience" to wait for success at McLaren -- with a Honda official having now admitted that race wins even in 2016 will be difficult.
"I think to some degree it all depends on Fernando's patience," Nigel Roebuck, a well-known and veteran F1 journalist, told Spain's El Confidencial.
"He keeps saying 'I knew it would be hard when I came here', which is true, but with five years of frustration at Ferrari behind him, how long will he accept that?" Roebuck wondered.
"To see Fernando Alonso at the back of the grid is a joke.
"I can understand why it came to the point that he said 'I have to go somewhere else', but at the same time it must be so hard for him to see what could have been his car (the Ferrari) this year. Jesus!" Roebuck added.