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Last Updated: Monday, 15 January 2007, 16:52 GMT
Alonso tips himself to win title
Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso pose with the new McLaren MP4-22
Alonso (right) says he has been refreshed by his switch of teams
Fernando Alonso believes he can win a third consecutive world title despite his move from Renault to McLaren.

The Spaniard, 25, said at the launch of McLaren's new car that his team were favourites to win the title, despite not winning a race last year.

"I have full confidence in ourselves," said the double world champion.

"All the information I have about the aerodynamics and engine is so promising that if it transfers to the track we will have a very good car."

Alonso said switching teams had left him rejuvenated and even more committed.

"I think we will be strong," Alonso said. "I feel more ambitious now, a completely new man.

No-one in the team has any doubts that McLaren can come back and it is a complete surprise for me

Fernando Alonso
"Sometimes after a tough season, when winter comes, you want to test as late as possible and be on holiday as much as you can and you don't want to be in the car so early. But now is the opposite.

"I want to be in the car straight away, so I have the feelings like six years ago when I arrived in Formula One. I just want to drive and to feel happy."

Alonso shrugged off suggestions that his remarks were simply the usual optimism seen from F1 teams and drivers ahead of a new season.

"For sure in January we are all optimistic... but I think we can do it.

"What I feel here (at McLaren) is a lot of professionalism, they are very determined to win and focused on the championship.

"When I went to the factory and I met all the people, they are so excited. They really think that after a few years with no success, this is the year to come back. No-one has any doubts about this and it is a complete surprise for me."

The new McLaren MP4-22
With Alonso at the wheel, there will be no excuses for McLaren
And he said he believed the move to a single tyre supplier following Michelin's withdrawal would help McLaren, even though they would be working with a new company in Bridgestone.

"I think Bridgestone tyres help the McLaren performance because in the last three tests of last year the McLaren was very quick. I felt the car to be comfortable to drive, not difficult and quite competitive," he said.

"It was good news for us."

McLaren believe their all-new line-up of Alonso and English rookie Lewis Hamilton is the "most exciting for many years".

Team boss Martin Whitmarsh said the pair could bury memories of 2006, McLaren's first winless season for 10 years.

Whitmarsh said Alonso's arrival from Renault had been "highly motivational".

And he said the team had "very little doubt that Lewis will be a winning driver in the sport".

Who knows, we might get to the first race and be a lot closer than people expect

Lewis Hamilton on facing Fernando Alonso
But he added that although the team was convinced by Hamilton's potential, "we must be cautious and control our enthusiasm because F1 is a very challenging environment".

Whitmarsh admitted that McLaren "didn't do a good enough job" in 2006, but added: "My feeling, having been at this point of the season on many occasions before, is highly optimistic for 2007.

"We have been working hard on the engineering package and believe we have made good progress to improve our performance."

Alonso and Hamilton took part in a demonstration run in the streets of Valencia in a pair of 2006 cars before the new MP4-22 was unveiled.

The new car will be tested for the first time at the Valencia track on Wednesday.

Hamilton, 21, added that seeing his first F1 car being unveiled was "indescribable".

"I know I have to work harder to be stronger mentally and physically and to prepare myself for whatever may come my way in F1, but I am ready and relishing the challenge," he added.

Alonso said Hamilton would help the team "because he is coming to F1 with fresh ideas", but he said he was "not worried that he could be quicker" than him.

Hamilton said his aim was "simply to do a solid job for McLaren".

He added: "As I'm sitting next to the best, I'm able to compare myself to him, to learn from everything he does, and eventually try to beat him.

"But I'm very realistic. At the end of the day he is a two-time world champion.

"For me, it's better to sit back and say: 'OK, he's going to be number one, he's my benchmark, what I have to work to', and to then close that gap.

"But who knows, we might get to the first race and be a lot closer than people expect."

SEE ALSO
Hamilton needs fast start - Hill
11 Jan 07 |  Formula One
The magic of Fernando Alonso
22 Oct 06 |  Formula One
Briatore dismisses McLaren hopes
03 Jan 07 |  Formula One
Kovalainen - I can match Alonso
20 Dec 06 |  Formula One
Alonso makes surprise McLaren bow
15 Dec 06 |  Formula One
Rapid rise 'could ruin Hamilton'
26 Nov 06 |  Formula One
Hamilton gets 2007 McLaren drive
24 Nov 06 |  Formula One
Alonso in class apart says Webber
04 Nov 06 |  Formula One


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