Fernando Alonso says that the McLaren-Honda partnership deserves to be criticised for its lack of progress this season, as it prepares for more tough times on the engine manufacturer's home turf.
The Spaniard has endured a frustrating campaign, with a lack of performance and reliability woes having left the Woking-based outfit in ninth place in the constructors' championship.
Alonso said ahead of the Japanese Grand Prix that the team's struggles did not shock him any more, and that fans had every right to be critical of the lack of progress his outfit had made in 2015.
“It is not a surprise any more,” he said about potential disappointment on Honda's home ground. “This has been processed in February, because when you are five seconds off the pace in Australia you don't think you arrive in Suzuka on the podium. It is the way it is.
“We are taking races in a completely different approach to what it should be, in terms of how the performance will be and how competition is with other teams.
“We take races as a very important test, as an opportunity to learn many things with other cars together around us.
“But when this is difficult to take from the fan point of view, I understand, and we should be criticised for our performance because we are not delivering what the people are expecting from us. This is understandable.
"But from the team point of view it is a little bit different because we cannot do much more than we do, and everyone is 100 per cent focused on reliability.”
With Honda having to wait until the winter to make needed architectural changes to the layout of its engine, Alonso is well aware that there is little hope of a performance lift before the end of the campaign.
However, he thinks there are still things that can be gained this season that will help McLaren next year.
When asked about targets for the remainder of the campaign, he said: “I don't think we will see anything better than what we saw in Singapore, so we cannot expect any miracle or any position that will definitely make happy everyone, and will show the direction for next year.
“We need to concentrate on next year's car and follow the programme. I think everyone is doing what they can, and everyone is working 24 hours a day to improve the situation in all areas.
“We need to improve the performance, we need to improve the reliability, some of the procedures that we do in the weekend, some free practice philosophies, some pit stops as we saw in Singapore, and some driver errors that we do sometimes.
“We have had some difficult free practice sessions with minimal laps, and we go to qualifying and we have only one lap because in Q2 we do not arrive, so on that one lap it is not perfect."
He added: “We all need to improve from the first mechanic to the drivers. We are in that part of the process and I will be happy in that part of the year if we keep growing on that aspect of the trackside, and if we keep making progress in the development of this year and next year's power unit and next year's chassis.”