POSITIVE ATTITUDE: McLaren's Fernando Alonso hopes to take another 'small' step towards a podium at the 2015 Spanish GP. Image: AFP / Manu Fernandez
BARCELONA, Spain - Fernando Alonso can see a brighter future for McLaren, despite turning up at his home Spanish GP on Thursday (May 7 2015) with a stye in his eye.
The double F1 champion wore heavy sunglasses throughout a media conference at the Circuit de Catalunya and told reporters he had to protect his vision.
Alonso said: "I have a stye. A little inflammation of my eye. They recommend not to be too much in the artificial light. I try to protect a little bit the eye today and tomorrow to be ready for Saturday (May 9) and Sunday."
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The last time Alonso appeared at the circuit outside Barcelona was in February 2015 when he crashed in the second of three pre-season tests. The medical advice that followed was to rest and recover from concussion, meaning he missed the Australian season-opener in Melbourne.
Alonso said he had no lingering concern about that crash or getting back out on track and returned with full confidence and motivation. He also planned a thank you gesture for the hospital staff who had looked after him.
He said: "They were so kind to me and I plan to have dinner with them, probably on Sunday (May 10). I stay here on Monday for one event with a sponsor, so Sunday night after all the stress and the race; more in a quiet place."
McLaren has had a stressful start to the season and its new engine partnership with Honda, qualifying near the rear of the field and failing to score in the first four races. At the last one, in Bahrain, Alonso's British team mate Jenson Button did not even get to start although Alonso finished 11th.
Alonso said: "I think in Bahrain we had a nice step and that brought us closer to the Q3 (final stage of qualifying) and also to the points and we need another small step to reach that goal.
"We want to be on the podium and win races but one step at a time - I hope here in Barcelona we can see this step."
Alonso, twice a winner of his home race with Renault and Ferrari, said it was just a question of time and putting everything together before McLaren was competitive again.
He said: "I really think we have the potential to fight with the top teams."
Stay with Wheels24 for the 2015 Formula 1 series.