McLaren-Honda still essentially in F1 'winter testing', says Alonso

Fernando Alonso says McLaren-Honda is still in its winter testing phase as the Formula 1 team's reliability and performance problems drag on

McLaren-Honda still essentially in F1 'winter testing', says Alonso

The alliance had than it was at Singapore's Marina Bay circuit last weekend, and Alonso and team-mate Jenson Button retired with gearbox problems.

It was the 10th time in 13 races the team has failed to score this season, leaving it ninth in the F1 constructors' championship with 17 points, nine adrift of Sauber and 446 behind leaders Mercedes.

"I think [in terms of] reliability we are not on top of some of the issues we have in the car," said Alonso.

"But this is normal, the project is too young, we have now the same mileage of the Mercedes team in Australia.

"So definitely we are in our winter testing still, and these issues should not happen in race 13 or race 14, but we are a little bit behind the pack.

"We could have achieved some points for the team [in Singapore] so it is a little bit disappointing, but that is the way it is.

"It's just a reminder that we need to work harder than ever because we lack performance plus reliability, so these two things combined is a lot of work to do and we want to do that.

"To score points, first you have to finish the race and we didn't manage [that] so we need to think in the next one."

Alonso refused to be downbeat, adding this weekend's Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka - which will be Honda's first home race since renewing its F1 partnership with McLaren - provided the motivation to keep pushing.

"I think Singapore was our best chance [of a good result] to be honest, because of the track layout," he said.

"But in Japan we'll try again because, it's the home grand prix for Honda so hopefully we can do something special there.

"This is a very motivating race for us I think, in front of the Honda fans. We will try our best."

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