Alonso backs McLaren to chase down Red Bull

McLaren have Red Bull in their sights as they adapt to their new Renault engine, according to driver Fernando Alonso.

Fernando Alonso in action in Melbourne   -  Getty Images

Fernando Alonso believes McLaren have the potential to chase down Red Bull in this year's Formula One world championship.

McLaren finished ninth in last season's constructors' standings, with Red Bull up in third, but the British team have switched to a Renault engine for 2018.

And Alonso - twice a world champion as a Renault driver - is optimistic for the year to come, having finished fifth at the Australian Grand Prix between Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen.

"It is the first race with this [McLaren-Renault] combination, so there is a lot more to come and hopefully, from Bahrain, we will see another step forward," Alonso told Sky Sports.

"Red Bull will be the next target. There is a lot of potential in the car but it's still to be unlocked.

"Right now, [Red Bull] are still clearly ahead of us and are in that exclusive group of Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull.

"McLaren is willing to enter that group and I think in the coming races we will forget the middle group and we look forward to those privileged three top teams."

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