Fernando Alonso, McLaren, Circuit de Catalunya, 2018

Alonso: McLaren should have had radical new nose at first race

2018 Spanish Grand Prix

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McLaren’s dramatic upgrade for its MCL33 should have been ready for the first race of the season, according to Fernando Alonso.

Alonso said the new package, which includes a radical new nose design, made the car “much better” but revealed the team intended to introduce it long before the fifth race of the year. “This should be the car of Australia so, yeah, it was a delay.”

“We’re running a little bit behind schedule on the updates,” he explained. “The important thing is that the new parts are coming every race from now on to put some performance on the car.”

While the new nose on the car has attracted the most attention McLaren has revised several other parts of the car. Alonso said the team isn’t sure whether it will run the full upgrade in the race.

“It’s difficult to separate one part from the whole package,” he said. “The the front nose is the most spectacular thing but there are aero devices all around the car so it’s difficult to separate which one is delivering more. But I think the whole package is better, the new McLaren is definitely faster so we’re happy with that.”

There is “still some debate on some of the parts if they are quicker or not,” he added. “But tonight we will make all the decisions and tomorrow put the best car on the track.”

McLaren hasn’t made it into the top 10 in qualifying for any of the races so far this year but Fernando Alonso believes they have their best chance yet.

“Overall I think we are a little bit more competitive than any other Friday so hopefully Q3 tomorrow for the first time is a real possibility.”

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16 comments on “Alonso: McLaren should have had radical new nose at first race”

  1. Vettel fan 17 (@)
    11th May 2018, 20:55

    I know this won’t happen, but I would love to see Alonso win the race.

    1. I’d love to see the safety car win a race…

      I’d hate to see Alonso win a race in 2018, it will just transform him back into a 2012 Ferrari spec Alonso… cocky and full of himself.

      Watching Alonso struggle is great for the spectacle, he deserves it SOOOOO badly…

      I will say I much prefer the 2018 spec versus 2012, it’s nice to see a top tier athlete humbled, and it doesn’t happen nearly enough.

      1. Well, then both Hamilton and Vettel deserve to be humbled down ;)

  2. He already won a race this month, so we are both asking for a lot.

    But in any case McLaren are in a terrible place. Just not a classy outfit, they combine delays with questionable performance benefits. They are essentially in the dark while still almost 2s off pace.

    They more and more remind me of Williams after BMW split.

    Honda is gonne now, and McLaren is left to fend fof themself, best personel long gone to other teams etc..

    And here we are thinking how nice would be to see Alonso on a podium.

    There is always WEC.

    1. The Williams comparison is, unfortunately, right. Too many staff lost. Too few sponsors. No factory behind them. If they can’t get a podium or two this year I fear the worst.

      1. I think that’s a gross exaggeration. The reality is that by any measure McLaren has had a substantial improvement since last year. The only real problem is that they hyped things up so much that their modest success looks like a failure. I was irrational to imply they could be fighting for podiums after getting rid of Honda.

        1. Yes, to fight for podiums they would have to be quicker than red bull and they’re 1,5 sec off, they didn’t tell us about this before 2018!

        2. @ajpennypacker, as you say, whereas Williams fell back in their first year without BMW, McLaren are currently fighting for fourth in the WCC (as opposed to 9th in 2017) and have scored more points in the past four races alone than they scored in the whole of 2017 or 2015.

          By any rational appraisal, McLaren are quite a bit more competitive than they were in 2017 and could have one of their better performances over the past five or six years – it’s just that the expectations were so unrealistically high to begin with that people are not satisfied with the progress they have made.

  3. Decent improvement in the end. But they are still 1 second behind the red bulls, and Haas still look faster. Renault seem lost, and Force India a bit behind? What’s sure is that there is still an awful lot to do for McLaren.

    1. @spoutnik

      I actually think it’s a decent improvement as well. They were around 1.8 to 2.0 seconds off the leader’s pace on an average. It seems that they’ve cut it down to around `1.4 to 1.6 seconds. They have a ton of updates coming up for the next few races, so let’s see if they can get the gap down to 1.2 seconds by mid season. By the end of the year, they need to get within a second of the leader’s pace. I think they could be satisfied with that performance for 2018.

      1. @todfod having red bull as a direct comparison is the nicest benchmark and gift they could do to themselves. Add an odd podium and 2018 will be a good recovery.

  4. My god that new nose looks so ugly! But if it works…

  5. Just noticed that the new nose is a combination of the Mercedes, RBR and Force India

    1. I didn’t quite understand how it’s got elements of Force India, but definitely noticed the Merc’s platypus design and Red Bull’s nozzle at the end. Maybe it’s the nostril approach…

  6. I think this weekend is critical for McLaren and so far it isn’t looking good.
    They are still 2 seconds behind Merc – fighting among the mid fielders. Excuses will fall on deaf ears.
    Yes, they are much better than last year, but that isn’t saying much.
    I’m afraid we will see Alonso’s talents wasted for yet another year.
    Not good for F1 either.

    1. @Benny It is no more ‘critical’ than any other race. What do you think will happen even if the car turns out to not be improved with these changes? Answer: They keep working it, and keep adding other things they have on their list, and they’ll study and work and test and research and keep at it etc etc.

      It is a work in progress and will be all season for all teams and drivers. FA’s talents are hardly wasted, as he has been taking a car that hasn’t been qualifying very high, to much higher places when it counts on Sundays. That is awesome for F1 and most people understand it is very early days in the Mac/Renault relationship. You know what is falling on deaf ears now? The rhetoric we heard starting in pre-season testing about how much of a mistake it was for them to abandon Honda because of how it was going for STR. About how it was Mac’s fault and not Honda’s all along.

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