STILL WITH A CHANCE: Fernando Alonso - pre-wall crash - at speed on the Catalunya circuit in Spain during 2015 testing. Gerhard Berger reckons he'll win again. Image: AP / Manu Fernanez
LONDON, England - Gerhard Berger has played down McLaren-Honda's testing troubles, insisting the team will win championships again.
The now 55-year-old Austrian great knows McLaren-Honda well: as he was famously paired with Ayrton Senna through 1990-92.
First, he tipped Fernando Alonso to bounce back from his crash during winter testing at the Catalunya circuit and eventually win titles for McLaren-Honda.
He forecast on the BBC: "Fernando is such an experienced driver, he will deal with it (the crash) in a good way and I don't think it's going to have any effect on him. He will be ready to go racing again."
2015, however, would be a "learning year" for the reunited British-Japanese team but Berger said he knew from personal experience that both sides were "extremely competent".
"I don't think it should matter if tests at the moment are not great or if the first races are not great. It's normal," Berger said. "It would be more of a surprise if Honda were competitive from Day 1.
"I think once Alonso signed up for McLaren-Honda he knew there was going to be a learning period. I'm sure he's going to be part of this learning. Once this is done, I'm sure he wants to take all the fruits from the learning period.
"Alonso has some extreme high talent in certain areas, not just in driving skills but in the way he runs the politics."Stay with Wheels24 for the 2015 F1 season – fresh reports every day.