McLaren Honda Formula 1 Team driver Fernando Alonso admits to being surprised at the performance the squad were able to achieve at the first round of the season in Australia, but is not expecting any miracle results at this weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix.
“Australia was a bit of a surprise for us, as we didn’t expect to perform at the level at we did, although on paper, ultimately, the results show the reality.
“We know there’s a lot of work to do and we aren’t delivering what we had aimed for pre-season, but equally we’re pushing hard behind the scenes.”
The Spaniard has confirmed the Woking based squad will receive upgrades in China, with the double world champion expecting advancements to be introduced at every race weekend this season.
“Despite there being a few fly aways at the start of the season, we’re still expecting to have upgrades at every race, including China.”
Tyre degradation was a big problem area for drivers at the Shanghai International Circuit last year, but with the new, stronger compounds in use for 2017, Alonso is hoping they will make a difference this time around.
“In Shanghai last year everyone had their eye on the tyres as wear is typically high there and we often saw graining, but it’ll be interesting to see how the new compounds perform on this type of track.“
The Shanghai International Circuit is a track that Alonso has gone well at in the past, taking victory there in 2013 whilst driving for Scuderia Ferrari, as well as a third placed podium finish for the Italian team in 2014.
It also includes one of the Spaniard’s best-loved corners of the whole F1 season, the fast and challenging turn one.
“Shanghai is a really quirky track – Turn One is actually my favourite corner on the whole calendar – and it provides a good test for the driver with a high average speed compared to the street circuit of Melbourne.”
The McLaren Honda team still face the unknown in terms of where they will end up come the end of the Chinese Grand Prix on Sunday, but Alonso feels that finishing the race without any problems should be the Woking based squad’s main target, whilst pushing as hard as they can for the best result possible.
“I’m looking forward to seeing what the new cars are capable of there, and I hope we can at least have a trouble-free race and see where we are when the chequered flag falls.”