Fernando Alonso searching for answers about McLaren's competitiveness
Spaniard hopes to get them at Silverstone this weekend after four straight retirements
By Mike Wise
Last Updated: 08/07/15 11:42am
Fernando Alonso says he’s searching for answers regarding McLaren Honda’s competitiveness at this weekend’s British GP after four straight retirements.
The Spaniard is desperate to see the chequered flag at Silverstone on Sunday after early exits in Spain, Monaco, Canada and Austria so he can gauge progress for his team following their dismal start to the season.
Alonso was back in the cockpit at the Red Bull Ring just three days after his nasty-looking collision with Kimi Raikkonen’s Ferrari on lap one of the Austrian GP two weeks ago and said the test was “very useful”.
Accident damage means he needs a new chassis and engine this weekend – although Alonso won’t be penalised again after F1 teams unanimously agreed on Thursday that Honda should be allowed an extra power unit per driver this year.
Alonso said Silverstone is “a question mark for us because the performance of the car after Austria, we were not sure. The new aero package feels more competitive but how competitive we don’t know because Austria was not our preferred track in terms of layout.
“It will be interesting to see this weekend if we can first finish the race, because after four retirements in my case I would like to see the chequered flag if possible.
“If we do so, I think to see how competitive we are is an answer we need to get this weekend. We don’t know if we are 12th, 17th or eighth at the moment.”
As Alonso says, it’s difficult to gauge McLaren Honda’s progress at present. Yet he insists the partnership will reap greater rewards in the second half of the season, with a view to being fully competitive next year.
“The important thing is not to get frustrated, to keep working in the same direction. I think the second part of the year will show a completely different McLaren – much more competitive,” he said.
“The project for next year is the second year, so everything will be different.”
The 33-year-old added: “I think the whole team is concentrating on next year. By doing so, 2015 is the year we need to develop the car so you do both things at the same time.
“Every weekend will be a test for us to prepare next year’s car, but to prepare next year’s car we cannot do in the wind tunnel from now to March next year; we’ll do it on the track every Friday, Saturday and Sunday.”
Alonso also dismissed suggestions that he was partly to blame for his crash with Raikkonen as “sick”.
“I was ten metres behind him and in some of the videos I saw I am clearly behind him. And Kimi, after the race, said that he lost the car,” he said.
“Still, fifteen days later we’re still talking about the same thing. It’s just people are sick because they don’t understand.”