Alonso relishing McLaren return but not expecting instant success

Returning McLaren diver Fernando Alonso is relishing his homecoming for the 2015 Formula 1 season, and has spoken of his delight turning out for the team he represented in a turbulent 2007 campaign.

The Spaniard (10/1 title chance with Coral) enjoys reunions in the sport it seems, as this is the second time he has come back to a constructor – he did so with Renault as well before his spell with Ferrari.

On top of that, it will be the second time 33-year-old Alonso and new stablemate Jenson Button (33) have worked together at, with the former being test driver to the latter for Renault in 2002. Alonso later replaced the Englishman, who moved on to BAR.

“I am here to win, but not to win the first day,” said the Spaniard, who is a double world champion (in 2005 and 2006 with Renault). “I am here to win in a long-term relationship.

“If we need to go through a period of learning, I am here for that and I am committed to working together.

“There are some signs things are getting better and moving forward, especially with the new names, new people who joined the team, the change of philosophy,” he continued.

“When a team is not delivering 100 per cent normally you go deep into the problems and you find the reasons. In McLaren there is this way of working that everyone is here to win.”

On his idols, Alonso added: “The association McLaren-Honda means a lot. When I was a child growing up I saw the battles between [Ayrton] Senna and [Alain] Prost, these famous colours and domination.

“I grew up with an idol and an image of what winning in F1 means and now I have the honour, the opportunity and the privilege to be part of this new era of McLaren-Honda, and it is quite inspiring for me.

“When you left one place where you feel you didn’t finish what you were there for, you want to come back and finish that job. It is what I felt and what I am sure we will achieve now.”

McLaren are second-favourites at 7/1, behind Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes, to win the Drivers’ Championship next year. Button, meanwhile, is 18/1 to add to his 2009 title.