After the disappointment of the late-race retirement in the Canadian Grand Prix when on course for his first point of 2017, Fernando Alonso returns to the track this weekend in Azerbaijan, but is expecting this weekend’s Grand Prix to be tricky.
The McLaren Honda Formula 1 Team driver was running tenth at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve only for another mechanical issue on his MCL32 denying him a finish, and subsequently the Spaniard is expecting grid penalties this weekend at the Baku Street Circuit thanks to the engine failure.
Despite this, Alonso insists that he and his team will continue to fight for every possible position around the fastest street circuit on the Formula 1 calendar.
“After getting so close to scoring our first point in Canada and suffering another retirement, we go to Baku with even more determination, but it’s no secret that we expect to find this weekend tricky,” said Alonso.
“After the power unit issues it’s likely we’ll need to take penalties, and the nature of the narrow, fast straights and tight corners means overtaking is generally tough. However, it’s certainly not impossible, and we’ll keep fighting as we always do.
“Baku City Circuit is the fastest street track on the calendar, so from a driver’s perspective it’s really exciting to be racing at such high speeds with the walls closing in on you either side.
“As usual, the starts are always one of the most crucial points of the race for us, so getting the set-up just right on Friday in time for qualifying on Saturday will be the most important thing.”
Alonso remains an Ambassador for Baku, and feels the location is ‘cool’, especially as they run through both the old and new parts of the city, and as a result he is eager to get racing there this weekend.
“Baku is a great city, and after the success of last year’s inaugural grand prix I’m really looking forward to going racing again in Azerbaijan,” said Alonso. “As a Baku Ambassador, I’ve spent more time there than a lot of my peers and colleagues, and it’s a really cool location to host a Formula 1 race.
“We literally drive straight through the centre of the historical old town and the old city walls make the perfect setting for this race in a new territory for the sport.”