Fernando Alonso calls McLaren-Honda Suzuka pace a 'nasty surprise'

McLaren's disappointing performance at Honda's home grand prix at Suzuka on Sunday was a "nasty surprise" according to double Formula 1 world champion Fernando Alonso

Fernando Alonso calls McLaren-Honda Suzuka pace a 'nasty surprise'

While the team scored points in six of the eight events leading up to the Japanese GP, it was off the pace all weekend at the circuit owned by its engine supplier, with Jenson Button explaining on Saturday that the famous Suzuka layout is one of the least-suited to McLaren's strengths.

Alonso and Button finished a distant 16th and 18th in the race, both lapped by the leaders.

"Our race today reflected the whole weekend: it was just anonymous," said Alonso.

"To finish 16th and 18th today is a nasty surprise, especially after finishing seventh in Singapore, and seventh and ninth in Malaysia, just last weekend.

"It was clear that the layout of the track didn't suit our package - we lacked downforce for the faster corners.

"I know our car is much more competitive than we were able to show today, and I'm disappointed about putting on such a poor show at Honda's home race."

Button, who made it clear earlier in the weekend that expectations were always low for Suzuka, said the race was even worse than expected.

"It's a shame that this is our bogey track as it's our second home," he said.

"But when I saw 18th on the board on the last lap I was actually surprised, I didn't think it was quite that bad.

"We were a long way behind the points, a very tough day and a tough weekend.

"It was pretty horrific but I still had some fun overtaking, a few little battles.

"I'm sure that all the specialists that are watching on TV or commentating have their views and will be very negative about us today which is fair enough but you've got to take the rough with the smooth.

"Nobody expected us to finish seventh and ninth in the last race, so some circuits suit us, some don't and the next one [Austin] will so we're in good shape for that one."

McLaren racing director Eric Boullier said to underperform in front of Honda's loyal fanbase made the result even more painful.

"There's no point denying that we're disappointed, because we are," he said.

"Having scored points with both cars last weekend in Malaysia, to finish 16th and 18th here in Japan is hard to take.

"We would love to have been able to give the Suzuka fans something better to cheer about - next year we will."

shares
comments
Wolff: Hamilton 'needs the enemy' to be at his best in title run-in

Previous article

Wolff: Hamilton 'needs the enemy' to be at his best in title run-in

Next article

Ricciardo says Raikkonen's F1 grid penalty led to tough Japanese GP

Ricciardo says Raikkonen's F1 grid penalty led to tough Japanese GP
Load comments
The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog Plus

The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog

A podium finisher in its first outing but then never again, the BRM P201 was a classic case of an opportunity squandered by disorganisation and complacency, says STUART CODLING

Formula 1
Sep 18, 2021
The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from Plus

The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from

OPINION: The headlines were dominated by the Italian Grand Prix crash between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, who had the halo to thank for avoiding potentially serious injury. But two days earlier, Formula 1 had a lucky escape with a Monza pitlane incident that could also have had grave consequences

Formula 1
Sep 17, 2021
How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum Plus

How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum

With two sprint races under its belt, Formula 1 must now consider its options for them going forward. While they've helped deliver exciting racing on Sundays, the sprints themselves have been somewhat lacking - creating yet another conundrum for F1 to solve...

Formula 1
Sep 16, 2021
Who should Alfa Romeo sign for 2022's F1 season? Plus

Who should Alfa Romeo sign for 2022's F1 season?

OPINION: With Valtteri Bottas already signed up for 2022, all eyes are on the race for the second seat at Alfa Romeo next year. Antonio Giovinazzi is the current incumbent, but faces a tough competition from appealing short and long-term prospects

Formula 1
Sep 15, 2021
The "forced break" that was key to Ricciardo's Monza excellence Plus

The "forced break" that was key to Ricciardo's Monza excellence

OPINION: Daniel Ricciardo has long been considered one of Formula 1’s elite drivers. But his struggles at McLaren since switching from Renault for 2021 have been painful to watch at times. Yet he’s recovered to banish those memories with a famous Monza win – built on a critically important foundation

Formula 1
Sep 14, 2021
How Verstappen is ruining his F1 title battle with Hamilton Plus

How Verstappen is ruining his F1 title battle with Hamilton

OPINION: The Italian GP clash between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen followed a running theme in the 2021 Formula 1 title fight. Their close-quarters battles have often resulted in contact - and although Hamilton has shown a willingness to back off, Verstappen must learn to temper his aggression

Formula 1
Sep 14, 2021
Italian Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Italian Grand Prix Driver Ratings

Two drivers produced maximum-score performances as, for the second year in a row, Monza threw up an unpredictable result that left several others ruing what might have been

Formula 1
Sep 13, 2021
Why Ricciardo was set for Monza F1 triumph even without Verstappen/Hamilton crash Plus

Why Ricciardo was set for Monza F1 triumph even without Verstappen/Hamilton crash

The clash between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton was the major flashpoint the 2021 Italian Grand Prix will be remembered for. Yet by this point, race leader Daniel Ricciardo had already done the hard work that would put him in position to end his and McLaren's lengthy win droughts, on a memorable afternoon in Monza

Formula 1
Sep 13, 2021