Alonso can still win titles with McLaren – Dennis

McLaren chairman Ron Dennis is confident Fernando Alonso has a bright future with the team, despite a difficult 2015 in Formula One.

The two-time world champion retired from seven races and only scored points on two occasions, at the Great Britain and Hungarian Grands Prix, finishing the campaign 17th in the drivers’ championship.

Dennis insists Alonso knew it was going to be a tough season following the switch in power unit supplier from Mercedes to Honda, but is certain the 34-year-old can challenge for titles with the team.

“Fernando’s contract is of three years’ duration – no performance clauses, no nothing. He always knew that 2015 would be a learning year,” Dennis told Formula1.com.

“He knows equally well that, together with Honda, we’ll make big improvements. So he joined us with open eyes.

“Together with the expertise and experience he’s cultivated over the past 15 years spent racing in F1, he still bristles with energy and enthusiasm.

“He’s had better years than 2015, obviously; but he knows that great years lie ahead of him, with McLaren-Honda.”

McLaren were handed a record 105-place grid penalty for changes to their Honda power-units at the Belgian Grand Prix, but Dennis is positive there will be improvements next year.

“[It] has been an admittedly challenging first year for McLaren’s renewed partnership with Honda, but in truth we expected as much,” Dennis added.

“Besides, our messaging all season long has been: ‘We know we’ve got a mountain to climb, and we may be making slower-than-hoped-for progress some of the time, but climb it we will.’ And that’s true; we’re climbing it.

“I’ll concede that our level of competitiveness in some 2015 Grands Prix was pretty hard to stomach – Spa and Monza spring to mind – and our lack of reliability didn’t help either.

“But we know what we’ve got to do to turn things around, and, as I speak, we’re working night and day to do just that.”

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