Alonso feared McLaren would struggle in Bahrain

Fernando Alonso says McLaren feared it would be in for a tough time at the Bahrain Grand Prix even before track action even got underway.

Alonso feared McLaren would struggle in Bahrain
Fernando Alonso, McLaren MCL33 Renault
Fernando Alonso, McLaren MCL33 Renault
Fernando Alonso, McLaren MCL33
Fernando Alonso, McLaren MCL33
Fernando Alonso, McLaren MCL33
Fernando Alonso, McLaren MCL33 Renault
Fernando Alonso, McLaren MCL33 Renault, is returned to the garage by engineers
Fernando Alonso, McLaren MCL33

A lacklustre showing in qualifying, with neither the Spaniard nor teammate Stoffel Vandoorne making it through to Q3, has left the team struggling to find answers as to what went wrong.

But while racing director Eric Boullier said he was "astonished" at events on Saturday – which included McLaren being outqualified by the Honda-powered Toro Rossos – Alonso said he was not shocked by what had happened.

"The nature of the circuit is far from ideal for our car," said Alonso, who starts from 13th on the grid. "We came here looking at last year's performance and it was not great.

"It was one of the worst performances for us last year and unfortunately we saw again today that this is a circuit that we don't have into our hands yet in terms of approach or setup.

"It is something we need to keep analysing. The new parts of the car work fine.

"Last year, it was very poor qualifying and then we were fighting for 11th until the last couple of laps, so last year the race pace was much better than the qualifying pace.

"We expect tomorrow to be a step ahead on today's performance and the points are the target for both cars, so we see whether we can do it."

How they line up for the Bahrain GP...

Boullier skipped the team's usual post-qualifying media commitment to attend a debrief as the team kicked off its inquest into the bad performance.

As well as the track layout not being ideal for the car, Alonso reckoned compromises needed to look after the tyres for the race had worked against the team too in terms of its qualifying form.

"This circuit requires a little bit different setup concept for qualifying and the race distance, because here the rear degradation is huge," he said.

"With this type of circuit being stop and go, with heavy traction, corners and things like that, you need a very strong rear end.

"If you have a very strong rear end then you struggle in qualifying to rotate the car in the hairpins with the front end missing, so maybe we setup the car a little bit too much towards the race.

"But it is not an excuse. We didn't perform today and hopefully tomorrow we can see a little bit more performance."

Pushed on where he felt McLaren was lacking at the moment, Alonso said: "Probably a little bit everywhere. We are not the strongest on the top speed.

"Braking performance was also not great today. Traction. So I think we struggled a little bit too much today."

shares
comments
Toro Rosso shocked by "huge step forward" in Bahrain

Previous article

Toro Rosso shocked by "huge step forward" in Bahrain

Next article

Mercedes says W09 "not a diva" despite lack of pace

Mercedes says W09 "not a diva" despite lack of pace
Load comments
How Tsunoda plans to achieve his F1 potential Prime

How Tsunoda plans to achieve his F1 potential

Yuki Tsunoda arrived in grand prix racing amid a whirlwind of hype, which only increased after his first race impressed the biggest wigs in Formula 1. His road since has been rocky and crash-filled, and OLEG KARPOV asks why Red Bull maintains faith in a driver who admits he isn’t really that big a fan of F1?

The danger of reading too much into F1's clickbait radio messages Prime

The danger of reading too much into F1's clickbait radio messages

OPINION: After Lewis Hamilton responded to reports labelling him 'furious' with Mercedes following his heated exchanges over team radio during the Russian Grand Prix, it provided a snapshot on how Formula 1 broadcasting radio snippets can both illuminate and misrepresent the true situation

Formula 1
Oct 14, 2021
How F1’s pole winner approach undermines drivers Prime

How F1’s pole winner approach undermines drivers

OPINION: Valtteri Bottas is credited with pole position for the 2021 Turkish Grand Prix, despite being beaten in qualifying. This is another example of Formula 1 and the FIA scoring an own goal by forgetting what makes motorsport magic, with the Istanbul race winner also a victim of this in the championship’s recent history

Formula 1
Oct 13, 2021
Turkish Grand Prix driver ratings Prime

Turkish Grand Prix driver ratings

On a day that the number two Mercedes enjoyed a rare day in the sun, the Turkish Grand Prix produced several standout drives - not least from a driver who has hit a purple patch of late

Formula 1
Oct 11, 2021
The hidden factors that thwarted Hamilton's bid for Turkey glory Prime

The hidden factors that thwarted Hamilton's bid for Turkey glory

Starting 11th after his engine change grid penalty, Lewis Hamilton faced a tough task to repeat his Turkish Grand Prix heroics of 2020 - despite making strong early progress in the wet. Instead, his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas broke through for a first win of the year to mitigate Max Verstappen re-taking the points lead

Formula 1
Oct 11, 2021
How pitstops evolved into an F1 art form Prime

How pitstops evolved into an F1 art form

A Formula 1 pitstop is a rapid-fire blend of high technology and human performance. PAT SYMONDS describes how the science of margin gains makes stops so quick

Formula 1
Oct 10, 2021
Why Mercedes' Istanbul edge is both stronger and weaker than it seems Prime

Why Mercedes' Istanbul edge is both stronger and weaker than it seems

Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton dominated the opening day of action for the 2021 Turkish Grand Prix, on the Istanbul circuit’s much improved track surface. But the Black Arrows squad’s position isn’t quite what it seems. Here’s why...

Formula 1
Oct 8, 2021
The rise and fall of Lotus as an F1 superpower Prime

The rise and fall of Lotus as an F1 superpower

On 8 October 1961, Innes Ireland claimed victory at the United States Grand Prix to herald the true arrival of a new Formula 1 giant. While Team Lotus endured plenty of highs and lows until the team folded over three decades later, Colin Chapman's squad made F1 history and helped shape the championship.

Formula 1
Oct 8, 2021