McLaren expects performance dip in China

McLaren is expecting its performance to take a dip in this weekend's Chinese Grand Prix despite hailing the progress made in the previous race in Malaysia.

Although both Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button retired from the Sepang event, the duo were encouraged by the pace shown in the race, when they were able to run close to some of its direct rivals.

But the nature of the Shanghai circuit, with its long straights, means extra emphasis will be put on the Honda power unit, McLaren's weakest point.

Alonso admitted the weekend is likely to be challenging.

"I don't think our car package will be as well suited here as it was in Malaysia, especially if the weather is as cold and windy as it usually is in early springtime in Shanghai," said Alonso.

Racing director Eric Boullier also conceded McLaren will not be able to repeat the kind of form seen in Malaysia.

"We don't take anything for granted, and are fully aware that the next two races probably won't show quite the same rate of improvement as we witnessed at Sepang," he said.

"That's a natural consequence of the fact that, first, the performance gains we're finding aren't linear in fashion – some will be for performance, some for efficiency, and others for reliability; and, second, because the different tracks subtly colour and shade pace in ways that can be hard to read, particularly from the outside looking in.

"Nonetheless, we're pushing hard on every front to improve our competitiveness, and our aim is to bring continuous developments to both chassis and power unit to every race, at a rate that enables us to catch and pass the teams ahead of us."

Encouraging progress

Alonso said he was still very encouraged by the how much the team has progressed since the winter.

"The steps we took between Australia and Malaysia were extremely impressive: it was a great feeling to be able to mix it with other cars and drivers, and I hope we can do more of the same in China this weekend," Alonso added.

"That sort of progress really gives the whole team belief and confidence in the path we're taking, so I hope we can keep moving forwards every time we take to the track."

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Event Chinese GP
Track Shanghai International Circuit
Drivers Jenson Button , Fernando Alonso
Teams McLaren
Article type Breaking news