Alonso not ruling out McLaren title tilt in 2017

Fernando Alonso believes McLaren could be able to challenge for championships as early as next season.

The Spaniard is in the second year of a three-year contract at McLaren, with his second stint at the team coinciding with the return of Honda as power unit supplier. While the team was comfortably off the pace last season, it has made progress in 2016 and Alonso has reached Q3 in each of the last two races.

When asked if he will want to extend his contract at McLaren when it is unlikely he will be fighting for the championship in 2017, Alonso said he feels new regulations could allow the team to challenge.

“First, it’s not that unlikely that we will fight for the championship next year. Who knows?” Alonso said. “The rule changes is quite an opportunity for all of us and teams that are in the midfield now could have a good chance next year to recover a lot of the gap.

“I think we have another few months now on the engine that I think will be quite important for recovering the power that we are missing, so I think things are quite open for next year. I am not that pessimistic and I am not thinking that we will not be in that fight, who knows?

“And then for the future I will see next year around summer time or something, so for the next 12 months I will not speak about the future because if not it will be long press conferences!

“But we will see, I finish the contract at the end of next year and there a lot of changes coming for the regulations, tyres, hopefully performance, which could make the cars more attractive to drive again. Now it is a little bit frustrating how we drive these cars and how we save all the things in the cars. It’s against your instinct what we have right now and I will decided after next summer.”

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