Fernando Alonso: “We need to raise our game”

It was the most productive test day so far for the revived McLaren-Honda partnership on day two at the Circuit de Catalunya, but Fernando Alonso still ended up at the bottom of the laps completed chart with 59.

The Spaniard set the seventh fastest time on Friday in front of his home fans, but was happier to be able to get a full days running, although it wasn’t completely problem free.

“We definitely had a better day today than yesterday, and not only managed to complete some runs, but also started running at 09:00 and finished at 17:45, which showed promise,” said Alonso. “The extent of our running also meant that we could finally begin to evaluate the potential of the car.

“Obviously, we’re still running with some limitations on the engine, but the car definitely felt better than it did in Jerez. On every lap, we discover something new, and we encounter different issues, but that’s to be expected with a project that’s in such an early state of development.”

Alonso believes the team will struggle to be completely ready for the Australian Grand Prix in March, and knows they will have to make the most of the six remaining test days at the Circuit de Catalunya over the next two weeks to get a better handle on where the car is compared to its rivals.

“We’re now exactly halfway through the test programme, and we need to make some progress,” insisted Alonso. “There are positives from the day, but we did the fewest laps of any team today, and need to raise our game and learn as fast as we can. Australia is approaching fast.

“We will arrive to Australia hoping Australia was in June or July, but it’s in March and I don’t know if we will arrive completely ready. But what I’m sure is we’ll arrive in the best conditions we can.

“There are only six days of testing between now and Australia, so it’s time for us to raise our game and start learning about the car. Today we had some new parts and re-enforced parts for the problems we had; tomorrow there are more coming.

“There is only 20 days to Australia; we’ll see how prepared we arrive, but I’m happy with the progress we made.”