Fernando Alonso admits he was left disappointed by McLaren’s pace during qualifying for the Bahrain Grand Prix but insists he has patience with the team.
McLaren has started the season comfortably off the pace of Red Bull – a fellow Renault customer – but says it is focused on reducing that gap over the coming races. With Alonso calling the next two months “crucial” for the team on Thursday, he was understandably unhappy after finishing 13th and 14th in qualifying, being beaten by both Renault-powered teams and both Toro Rossos.
“To be out of Q3 is not the end of the world as we were out of Q3 in Australia and we scored points on Sunday, the points are given on Sunday,” Alonso said. “I am disappointed with the pace as we just didn’t have the qualifying pace from Q1 which was difficult for us and we were struggling, so 13th and 14th are not the positions we wanted but we didn’t have the pace today so we need to find the reasons why.
“The long run pace is much better than the single-lap performance so we need to analyze why this happened to us.”
However, Alonso says the past three years of struggle with Honda have left him willing to give McLaren time to turn the situation around with Bahrain only being the second race of the season.
“I mean we have a lot of patience and we had in the last three years. It’s not about asking for new things; we always ask for new things from the time we see the car in January that is only a concept, we are asking where the new parts will come after this initial launch car. This is the same for all of the teams.
“Force India did improve the car from winter testing to here. Toro Rosso brought a new aero package here. Ferrari obviously, Red Bull, so we need to outperform these big teams if we want to close the gap.
“We all bring new parts to every grand prix; we need to bring double if we want to close that gap and that’s the challenge that we are facing now. We have confidence that we can do it. We are a big team. McLaren as I said in Australia is one of the biggest or the biggest team in Formula 1, so it’s up to us if we want to deliver, only up to us.”