McLaren’s Fernando Alonso has admitted that he’s bracing himself for a potentially difficult weekend in Australia as Honda worries continue.
It’s a position that nobody wants to be in – and yet, the two-time World Champion finds himself looking to the opening weekend of the 2017 Formula One season with a sense of growing dread. Though, keeping true to form, the Spaniard said that while he anticipates a struggle ahead he and his team will have to continue their press forward to find reliability before they can build on performance.
“After a difficult two weeks of testing we’re prepared to face a difficult weekend in Melbourne. We’ll do our best with what we have and there’s a lot of hard work and collaboration happening within the team, but the lack of time before the first race means you have fewer options for big changes.
The first step will be to work on reliability before we can make any assumptions or predictions about performance, and we will try to enjoy the weekend as much as we can.” – Fernando Alonso
In addition to doing all that they can to wring every ounce of reliability out of their current engine, McLaren’s Racing Director Eric Boullier has said that the team plans to utilize the opening race in Melbourne as a benchmark for the upcoming season and identify which areas they are most lacking in. One would think that by now the team would know where its weaknesses lie, but perhaps Boullier is just doing whatever he can to remain optimistic.
“It’ll be interesting for us all to see the pecking order emerge as each session goes by, as well as where our own strengths and weaknesses lie, and we’re prepared for a challenging weekend ahead.” – Eric Boullier
Boullier did not offer any comments in regards to its news about it potentially seeking a customer engine from Mercedes, but did reaffirm that McLaren and Honda will work together through these difficult times:
“We won’t make any promises or predictions about our performance or results, but McLaren and Honda will continue to worth together in partnership and maximize everything we have in our package.” – Eric Boullier
The team will struggle, but are at least granted some room for optimism given that the token system for engine development isn’t in place anymore. Alonso and Vandoorne will have to be patient early on, but it’s a long season and the team could turn their fate around.