Fernando Alonso dismissed suggestions McLaren had made a disappointing start to the season following his seventh place finish in Bahrain.
He pointed out the team is “third in the constructors’ championship and fourth in the drivers’ championship” after the first two races. “Maybe not [on] performance,” he added, “but I don’t know what exactly people were expecting from one season to another where the regulations stay the same.
“Obviously last year in three races zero points. Bahrain last year Stoffel [Vandoorne] didn’t make the start, on the grid he was pulling the car into the pit lane. This year [from] two races, four cars to the chequered flag, third in the constructors’ championship.
“If we look at the facts, not the feelings or the wishes or the dreams, if we see the facts, this is a very good start.”
While McLaren suffered several problems in testing and covered the lowest mileage of any team, Alonso pointed out they have got both cars to the finish with no significant problems in both of the races so far.
“We didn’t have any mechanical failure, we didn’t have any operational failure. I think we are the only team now – with the pit stop problem of Ferrari and the pit stop problem of Haas and the Red Bull retirements – I think there’s only one team remaining with no issues at all in two weekends, and that’s only McLaren because even Mercedes changed the gearbox already a couple of times. It’s only McLaren to have at the moment zero [problems].
“This could change quite quickly, unfortunately, but I think so far the start of the season is very positive. But I understand that the expectations are always difficult to meet when we are talking about McLaren and a potential championship fight.”
He pointed out the Bahrain circuit saw one of the team’s weakest performance last year, and predicted the team will be stronger in Shanghai.
“It’s difficult to know before free practice but I feel confident that here should be better than Bahrain. In Barcelona we were better than Bahrain, in Australia we were better than Bahrain, here should be better than Bahrain.
“As I said last weekend we found that theme also last year that Bahrain was one of the worst performances of the year. We arrived this year there, we didn’t perform well, so hopefully it’s just a one-off.”
2018 F1 season
- Honda’s jet division helped F1 engineers solve power unit problem
- McLaren Racing losses rise after Honda split
- Ricciardo: Baku “s***show” was Red Bull’s fault
- “Drive to Survive Episode 1: All to Play For” reviewed
- F1’s television and social media audiences rose last year