Alonso sets ‘minimum’ target of podiums for 2016

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Fernando Alonso says challenging for the podium must be McLaren-Honda’s “minimum” target for next year after the reunited partners endured one of their worst campaigns in 2015.

The British team and Japanese manufacturer finished a lowly ninth in the Constructors’ championship with 27 points, only beating the scoreless Manor Marussia squad. Alonso and Jenson Button’s race weekends were more often than not thwarted by poor engine reliability and performance.

Although the Spaniard secured the team’s best result with fifth in Hungary, he also suffered eight retirements, three more than his team-mate, to rank a lacklustre 17th in the Drivers’ standings.

Alonso insists he has noticed steady progress from McLaren-Honda, but wants this to translate into a return to the sharp end of the grid in 2016.

“We have been at the factory these past few days, doing some work in the simulator, as well as with people from the aerodynamics department,” the 34-year-old told Sky Sports News HQ.

“I am very positive about next year. We have been through very difficult times in 2015. I think we understood our problems - we know the solutions, at least theoretically.

“Everything I am seeing is very logical and I think next year is going to be a much, much better year. Our intention is to fight for the title or fight for the podiums at the minimum. This is where McLaren-Honda belongs.”

Amongst the current drivers, Alonso has the most podium finishes to his name with 97, but his most recent visit to the rostrum stretches back to the 2014 Hungarian Grand Prix when he was still driving for Ferrari.

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