BARCELONA: It has been a difficult start to the season for Spanish Formula One driver Fernando Alonso who is yet to pick up a single point since returning to the McLaren Honda team.
But the two-time world champion is optimistic that the Spanish Grand Prix, to be held in Montmelo outside of Barcelona this weekend, will bring around a change in fortunes, reports Xinhua.
"I am happy to be back in Europe and in my homeland and to be able to compete in front of the Spanish fans," said Alonso, who believes his team is making progress in their bid to be serious challengers.
"We have taken a few steps forward in the last few races and I am looking forward to competing after a three week break," he said in an interview published on his team's official website on Tuesday.
"The team has improved from race to race and we want to maintain that consistency," said Alonso.
"(It was) going to be difficult, because the other teams are also working to improve. But I have the hope that the start of the European race season will be positive for us and that we will continue to advance."
Alonso also discussed the Barcelona circuit where he had a crash in pre-season training which saw him taken to hospital and forced to miss the first Grand Prix of the season.
Despite his accident, he insisted, "I like the circuit a lot: it is high speed and it tests the car's stability, so we will have to work on that.
"We won't fight to win in Barcelona, but I know I will have the fans behind me and that is an extra motivation for an extra special weekend."