McLaren's Spanish driver Fernando Alonso drives at the Circuit de Catalunya on March 10, 2017 in Montmelo on the outskirts of Barcelona on the fourth day of the second week of tests ahead of the Formula One Grand Prix season. / AFP PHOTO / LLUIS GENE (Photo credit should read LLUIS GENE/AFP/Getty Images)

The lights are about to go out to signify the start of a new era in Formula One and for the McLaren Honda team, the hope is that this era will be a lot stronger than the last.

During preseason testing the team had a lot of technical failures with the Honda power unit, Fernando Alonso is well aware that the coming weekend won’t be an easy one…..

“After a difficult two weeks of testing we’re prepared to face a difficult weekend in Melbourne. We’ll do our best with what we have and there’s a lot of hard work and collaboration happening within the team, but the lack of time before the first race means you have fewer options for big changes,” he said. “The first step will be to work on reliability before we can make any assumptions or predictions about performance, and we will try to enjoy the weekend as much as we can.”

That said however, the start of any new season fills him with excitement and anticipation and he can’t wait to see just where they really do stand in comparison to their rivals….

“The start of a new season always gives us a range of feelings – great excitement to be racing again, and the sense of the unknown as we go into a formula with a brand-new set of regulations. We don’t yet know where everyone stands as testing was a proving ground for the teams more than ever before, and it’ll be interesting to see how quickly teams show their hand over the course of the weekend,” he added.

With all the new rules and regulations in play, one thing is for sure, the Spaniard’s motivation is very high…..

“I’m incredibly motivated for 2017 and I can’t wait to see what kind of racing this new shake-up of the sport will bring. We already know the sport is a lot more physical and the cars are more challenging to drive – from a driver’s point of view this is exactly what we were looking for in the new regulations, and I really hope this will translate to good battles on track.”