SAO PAULO (Reuters) - McLaren’s Fernando Alonso says he has been ‘on standby’, or economy mode, this season to save his energies for what the Spaniard hopes will be a much better 2016.
“I did some good laps here and there,” the double Formula One world champion told reporters at the Brazilian Grand Prix, singling out qualifying in Japan and then the U.S. race in Austin last month.
“But apart from these two moments I don’t think that I had the best season, so definitely I need to improve for next year,” he added.
“When you are at the front and you have more motivation that helps...but I‘m on standby, let’s say, in economy mode, to have full energy next year.”
Alonso joined McLaren at the end of last season from Ferrari, where he finished championship runner-up in three of his five seasons at Maranello.
At McLaren, he and British team mate Jenson Button have endured the worst season in the history of the sport’s second most successful team as new engine partners Honda struggle to fine performance and reliability.
While Button has scored 16 points from 17 races, Alonso has managed just 11.
Despite that, Alonso said it would be a surprise if McLaren were not “very, very competitive” next season.
“We have high hopes for next year and I really trust the team and really believe we have the talented people and the resources to have everything to do well,” he said.
Button, the 2009 champion, also sounded optimistic.
“I know we keep saying it, but it is still a very young partnership,” said the Briton.
”We’ve learned so much this year with the power unit, with the idea of the aerodynamics of the car, because it’s very different to a normal McLaren, so there is a lot of learning to take from this season.
“We obviously need to make a big step next year -- we know that -- so it’s going to be a long, hard winter, but an exciting one as well.”
Writing by Alan Baldwin in London, editing by Justin Palmer