Fernando Alonso has warned against expecting too much from McLaren’s upgrade package at the Spanish Grand Prix despite the team suggesting it will make a step forward.
McLaren has struggled for outright pace in the opening four races of the season – failing to reach Q3 so far – but has performed well in race trim and currently sits fourth in the constructors’ championship. Racing director Eric Boullier has previously highlighted delays in new parts being introduced as the catalyst for the slow start and believes the Barcelona upgrade will improve the car. But Alonso isn’t expecting clear progress.
“Definitely, it is not an easy start especially on Saturdays,” Alonso said. “On Sundays we have scored a lot of points so far… Obviously in Barcelona there is a new aero package coming but I think 95 percent of the paddock is bringing a new aero package to Barcelona so maybe the gap will remain as it is or we will recover it a little bit or just lose a little bit of ground, who knows.
“I think it is up to us to make the package work and deliver to expectations and hopefully some others do not deliver. That is our hope.”
Boullier himself added that the emphasis on Spain should also not be overplayed due to the team’s approach of trying to bring upgrades to every round of the championship.
“I just want to add that we are bringing new parts to every weekend,” Boullier said. “There is a new direction starting from Barcelona but you can’t expect, like Fernando said, to jump everybody.
“Obviously everyone is brining parts and packages especially at the opening races. Anyway, Monaco there will be another upgrade and Canada there will be another upgrade and so on so it is every race.”
McLaren recently parted company with technical director Tim Goss as part of a restructuring of its technical department as it targets podiums this year. While car development is under scrutiny, Alonso is pleased with the reliability shown by the Renault power unit so far, having finished in the top seven in all four races.
“The reliability is good,” the Spaniard said. “After four races, four qualifying, four practices we are still running with the first component on everything so that has been good and probably allowed us to score [so many] points so far which is very positive.
“Reliability has been outstanding so far so that is good.”