McLaren-Honda has endured a tough weekend so far on its own territory. Fernando Alonso only qualified 15th while his team-mate Jenson Button could only grab the 17th starting position for tomorrow’s Japanese GP.
Today’s qualifying session was a shocking hour for the Anglo-Japanese squad after its recent technical reinforcement, power unit upgrades and successful outings. It was only exacerbated by the fact that it happened on its home soil where fans welcomed the formerly utter dominant collaboration with overwhelming warmth and enthusiasm.
The Woking-based team’s two-time world champion Fernando Alonso sounded disheartened after his recent success and haul of points.
“After some strong weekends, where we made it into Q3 and were able to fight for points, qualifying 15th and 17th is not the best place to be starting Honda’s home grand prix.
McLaren has found it hard to find the way to go with the balance of the car as it did not find the sweet spot in the high-speed corners, but it has also lacked of straight-line speed.
“So far, we just haven’t been able to find the speed in the car this weekend. We’ve been struggling with high-speed and straight-line performance too, so it was difficult to know which way to go in terms of downforce and balance. It looks like our performance is changing from circuit to circuit, and we need to analyse exactly why we seem to be underperforming here.”
Asked about the aims for tomorrow’s race, Alonso conceded it would be hard to fight his way up into the point-scoring positions.
“Unless it rains tomorrow, it’ll be difficult for us to recover enough positions in the race in order to score points. But I’ll be attacking tomorrow – I have nothing to lose.”