After a frustrating five-season spell with Ferrari, Alonso returned to Woking looking for a fresh challenge in 2015 only to suffer a torrid campaign amid poor reliability and performance.
McLaren-Honda enjoyed a smoother winter preparation this year and looked more competitive right off the bat in Australia. Nonetheless, Alonso is aware that, once again, he probably will not challenge for the third title he has been chasing for a decade. But the 34-year-old remains upbeat about the future.
“The project is still the winning one, the one that can break the Mercedes dominance,” Alonso told Channel 4 F1 reporter Lee McKenzie in a wide-ranging interview.
“It takes time because unfortunately in F1 there are no magic solutions, but I see a good direction in the team.
“I think I'm in the right place but as a sportsman, as a fan, we don't have the time sometimes to wait for a project to mature and to get the result. You get anxious, which is understandable.
“But I think this is the car that could beat Mercedes. Everyone would like to win and be champion, but right now only Lewis [Hamilton] and Nico [Rosberg] can do it. They are fighting for the championships and hopefully soon we will be in that battle.”
Alonso’s contract with McLaren runs through to the end of 2017 but racing director Eric Boullier has already urged the Spaniard to extend his stint at Woking in order to reap the rewards of their current efforts.