Motor racing - Alonso pessimistic about podium appearances for rest of season
By Richard Martin
BARCELONA (Reuters) - Former world champion Fernando Alonso doubts he will make it onto the Formula One podium this season after also enduring his worst points tally last year, but has no immediate plans to retire.
The Spaniard is 13th in the 2016 driver standings on 24 points, 168 behind leader and former McLaren team-mate Lewis Hamilton.
Alonso, 34, picked up only 11 points in 2015, and although he has already surpassed that this year, Alonso is sceptical about his chances of getting a first podium appearance since 2014 and since rejoining McLaren.
"It's very difficult for us to get a podium this season," Alonso told Spanish radio station Cadena Cope on Tuesday.
"In normal conditions we still wouldn't deserve a podium. I hope we improve next year but this is Formula One, anything can happen. We are still waiting for things to happen with this McLaren Honda project but we are on the way up."
Honda were McLaren's engine partners when they were dominant at the end of the 1980s and returned to the British team last year - the second year of the new V6 turbo hybrid era with Mercedes already dominant.
McLaren, eight times constructors' champions, have not won a race since 2012.
Despite another torrid campaign and a huge crash in the Australian Grand Prix in March, Alonso said he had no plans to retire.
"My future in Formula One will not depend on this car. Even in these last two difficult years I've been enjoying myself a lot," added Alonso, who won the world drivers championship in 2005 and 2006.
"If the cars are as fun as they were in the past, I'll have no problem continuing. I'm aware that I'll never be 20-years-old again but I have more experience and more knowledge now."
The Spaniard finished seventh in last week's Hungary Grand Prix and is now preparing for this weekend's German Grand Prix.
(Reporting by Richard Martin; Editing by Alison Williams)