Top Ten the Aim for Honda and McLaren in Austria Qualifying – Hasegawa

by Paul Hensby

Honda’s ‘Spec Three’ power unit should enable both Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne the opportunity to advance to the top ten shootout for the Austrian Grand Prix, according to Yusuke Hasegawa.

For the first time, both McLaren Honda Formula 1 Team drivers are utilising the upgraded Internal Combustion Engines (ICE) at the Red Bull Ring, with both Alonso and Vandoorne showing some improved competitiveness on Friday.

Despite the optimism from Friday’s sessions, Hasegawa, the Head of Honda’s F1 Project, remains cautious about just where McLaren should be this weekend, particularly with the weather looking unsettled, but he feels there should be no reason why both drivers should be fighting for top ten starting positions.

“After the successful running of our Spec Three PU for the first time in Baku two weeks ago, we came to Austria with one apiece for both Fernando and Stoffel,” said Hasegawa.

“I’m pleased to say that we were able to work through our FP1 and FP2 programmes with no issues. During the sessions, both drivers showed decent performance with constant pace, and once again we were able to see the effectiveness of the update in the data.

“It’s difficult to judge our overall competitiveness from today’s practice sessions only. However, we feel confident that we’ll have an opportunity to score some points. Of course, this doesn’t take into account the uncertain factors such as high temperatures and unstable weather, but we’ll concentrate on our preparation to give our drivers competitive cars, and hopefully they will both proceed into Q3 in tomorrow’s qualifying.”

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