Fernando Alonso is hopeful that McLaren will be able to challenge for podium finishes and race wins in 2018.

Alonso optimistic of McLaren progress

Alonso optimistic of McLaren progress

The Woking-based team have been the whipping boys of Formula 1 in recent years due to a poor power unit, but a switch from Honda to Renault for this year has led to renewed optimism.

Four-time world champion Lewis Hamilton has been among a number of drivers who have tipped McLaren to make a splash in the upcoming campaign after a few years in the doldrums.

Unreliability has thwarted their progress while they have been nowhere near quick enough to challenge for top-three finishes, but Alonso, while acknowledging that nothing in the sport is a given, feels the good times might be around the corner.

'In terms of results, it is always going to be difficult to predict,' he said. 'This is Formula 1, it is not mathematical that you know in advance. Anything can happen. Even the favourite ones, the champions, Mercedes cannot guarantee that in 2018 they will be fastest.

'But we are quite optimistic, we know what Red Bull is doing with the Renault power unit, they are maybe not the fastest in qualifying but they are quite fast in the race.

'They’ve been on a couple of podiums, they won two or three races, so with those kinds of results I think we will be very happy. If we are in the fight and if we can taste the champagne again.'