Heading to the Suzuka International Racing Course, McLaren F1 Team sporting director Gil de Ferran is hoping for a much productive and competitive weekend than they endured seven days ago at the Sochi Autodrom, where neither Fernando Alonso nor Stoffel Vandoorne were anywhere near troubling the top ten.
Alonso ultimately finished fourteenth and Vandoorne sixteenth in Russia, but despite the woes, de Ferran feels positive about the work put in throughout the weekend to work out just why the MCL33 was so far off the pace, and ultimately that should benefit them when it comes to the 2019 chassis.
“The Japanese Grand Prix is one of Formula 1’s iconic races, and Suzuka is one of motorsport’s greatest circuits,” said de Ferran. “It’s also a place where some of McLaren’s greatest moments took place.
“We head to Japan after a tricky weekend in Russia, but the work undertaken there to gain a better understanding of the car was encouraging and will all feed back into the design and preparation of next year’s programme.”
Suzuka will demand a lot from the whole package, but unlike in Sochi, de Ferran is confident that McLaren can show themselves in a more positive light and challenge for much-needed top ten finishes.
“Suzuka is extremely demanding on the whole package, stressing both mechanical and aerodynamic grip, but we’re hoping for a more productive and competitive weekend overall,” said the Brazilian.