After a troublesome 2015 season, can McLaren-Honda turn around its fortunes this year? Matthew Gannon makes his predictions.
Constructors Championship - 8th.
Although the Honda package of 2015 was woefully slow, expect the largest engine gains to come from Honda and as a wetsuit their works McLaren team. With two experienced and quick pilots behind the wheel, the pair of former world champions will wrangle every last point and second out of the McLaren. Expect fast tracks to still be difficult. However, the mid-range circuits should yield a considerable amount more than previously.
Jenson Button - 14th.
For me the strongest of the two drivers, Button knows how to master the car, the conditions and the tyres better than his teammate. This should give Jenson the edge this season. When we look back, Button might only have one title to his name compared to Alonso's two, he took the BAR/Honda to places nobody else could. This McLaren will be an equally tough challenge which Button should easily rise to.
Fernando Alonso - 15th.
The Spaniard was at times last season embarrassed by the team and car, embroiled in a war of words between team and engine supplier. For 2016, a much less tense scenario should be on the cards. The car like we said previously looks better than 12 months ago and in Alonso's first Australian Grand Prix for McLaren since 2007 he will be desperately trying to beat his teammate and show the world they can reach the top again.
Pre season notes
14th and 15th for Button and Alonso respectively shows that McLaren have made progress from last year when they propped up the timesheets. The cars reliably should also improve like everyone else's did last year compared to the inaugural V6 hybrid season in 2014. The times were decent with both Button and Alonso being less than half a second off Kvyat in the Red Bull. Expect a year of battling with the Saubers as pre-season saw the McLaren pair and Nasr all within a tenth of a second. Let the battle commence.
by Matthew Gannon