Alonso expects improved McLaren performance in Austria

Fernando Alonso is hopeful that McLaren can expect a better performance in Austria this weekend than it has had in recent races.

Alonso expects improved McLaren performance in Austria
Fernando Alonso, McLaren MP4-31
Fernando Alonso, McLaren
(L to R): Fernando Alonso, McLaren MP4-31 and Carlos Sainz Jr., Scuderia Toro Rosso STR11 battle for position
Fernando Alonso, McLaren MP4-31 retired from the race
Eric Boullier, McLaren Racing Director
Fernando Alonso, McLaren MP4-31

Having become contenders for a Q3 slot on the back of both chassis and engine progress this year, Alonso and teammate Jenson Button have endured frustrations after missing out on points finishes in Canada and Baku.

And although the Red Bull Ring track is quite a power-sensitive track, with Honda still having some way to go before it can match Mercedes, Alonso thinks that strengths of his package give him reason to be optimistic.

“It’s a much shorter track than Baku, but it’s still very challenging because you cannot afford to make any mistakes,” explained the Spaniard.

“A lap takes less than 70 seconds, which squeezes the grid closer together and there are only a few tenths of a second between rows. To be fast you need good traction and efficient aero, which we have.

"For that reason, I hope we can be more competitive than we were in Baku – and I hope to have a longer race than I did last year, which was over on the opening lap!”

Reliability focus

Racing director Eric Boullier is equally looking for a challenge for points, but is aware that McLaren and Honda need to lift efforts on the reliability front after recent troubles.

“After returning from the last two races without a top 10 finish, our immediate aim is to get back into the points,” he said.

“In Canada, Fernando finished 11th, and Jenson achieved the same result in Azerbaijan, neither of which track best suited our car’s characteristics, so we’ll be hoping to do a little better in Austria this weekend.

“We also need to address the reliability issues that accounted for one of our cars in each of the last two races. We’ve been worked hard since we got back to Woking to pin-point the problem and try to ensure that there isn’t a recurrence.”

Don’t miss our Austrian GP video preview…

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