McLaren F1 car half 2016 parts at Abu Dhabi GP - Fernando Alonso

Half of the parts in McLaren's Formula 1 car for this weekend's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix have been built for its 2016 challenger, says Fernando Alonso

McLaren F1 car half 2016 parts at Abu Dhabi GP - Fernando Alonso

Honda's troubled F1 return resulted in McLaren switching its focus to next season earlier than most squads, with Alonso and team-mate Jenson Button declaring on multiple occasions that the emphasis was simply on testing for the future.

That will continue at Yas Marina this weekend, with Alonso saying the team was scarcely entertaining the prospect of overhauling Sauber in the season finale to claim eighth in the constructors' title.

"I think it's unlikely," he said.

"They are nine points ahead. We have scored points three or four times only this year. To score as many as 10 in one race is a bit difficult.

"We will try to do our best, try and perform and have a good weekend but our minds are on next year's project.

"Half of the car is next year's parts and philosophy.

"So I don't think we need to worry about beating Sauber this weekend."

Despite the ongoing work, and belief that Honda's output will improve significantly in 2016, Alonso admitted that just how strongly McLaren would start the new campaign was "a question mark".

"It's a guess where McLaren-Honda can be next year," he said.

"There is a lot of expectation in the team. We have worked hard all season, united in some difficult moments and always moving forward.

"For 2016, the main goal is to come back to where we belong, being competitive, fighting for the top positions.

"I don't know if that means fighting for world championships or victories or just being on podiums. That's difficult to know in a complex sport like F1.

"There are definitely some big challenge ahead in the winter and I see all the things the team has done in the last couple of months.

"It seems positive. I'm confident it will be a completely different season next year and I'm happy with the progress."

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