McLaren Honda Formula 1 Team Executive Chief Engineer Yusuke Hasegawa is keen to look at the positives from a disappointing Italian Grand Prix, saying that although both cars retired it was still “slightly positive” that they had pace at a tough circuit.
McLaren Honda started from eighteenth and nineteenth on the grid thanks to penalties – saved from last only by Haas F1 Team’s Romain Grosjean, who crashed early in qualifying and subsequently didn’t set a time within the 107% margin of pole.
Despite having started from the back of the grid, both drivers were able to make their way through traffic – Fernando Alonso fighting his way up to argue with Jolyon Palmer and Stoffel Vandoorne even reaching the top ten.
Ultimately though both cars had to retire, marking McLaren Honda’s third double-DNF of the season (though Alonso was classified as a finisher, having completed over 90% of the race).
“We had a beautiful Italian blue sky [on Sunday], the exact opposite of [Saturday’s] cold and rainy day.” Hasegawa said. “Unfortunately, the on-track action didn’t improve for us and the race turned out to be extremely disappointing.
“The day started with a PU change on Stoffel’s car as a result of the MGU-K issue in [Saturday’s] qualifying session. This meant Stoffel started the race from the back of grid in P18 alongside Fernando. Despite the tough circumstances, Stoffel had a good start and was having a strong race within the top ten before his retirement. Unfortunately, he lost power supply from his PU and we’re investigating the cause of the issue.
“Fernando also started the race from back of the grid. He showed a consistent pace during the race, but the team eventually had to retire his car as the ability to monitor his gearbox was lost.”
Monza is one of the most demanding tracks on the calendar – its long straights and fast corners proving tricky for even experienced teams. Whilst having neither of their cars finish was undoubtedly disappointing for the troubled team, Hasegawa has his sights firmly on the Singapore Grand Prix – a street track that should suit the car better.
“Although it’s disappointing we were unable to finish the race, it’s still slightly positive that we showed good pace here in Monza, even though this is one of the more challenging circuits on the calendar for us.
“The next race in Singapore is on a circuit that suits the characteristics of our car, so we will focus there on pushing for much-needed championship points.”