Fernando Alonso hasn’t even sat in his McLaren MP4-31 yet but the Spaniard already has a 30-place grid penalty for this weekend’s Malaysian Grand Prix.
McLaren’s grid penalties became a running joke last year when they were collecting them like Pokemon but luckily for them they no longer have to carry them over to the next race, meaning Alonso will start last on Sunday and won’t have to take any further penalty at Honda’s home race in Japan next weekend.
The good news at least for McLaren is that Alonso’s grid drop is because he’ll be testing a new
GP2 Honda engine, which they believe will help them become the fourth fastest team on the grid.
“Definitely that will be the target, to be in the points both cars, every single race and being in Q3 every single race,” said Alonso. “We know that this in some circuits is going to be tougher than the others, so it will depend circuit to circuit.
“But I think we have that possibility in our hands, even if sometimes we are not the fourth fastest like in Singapore, where in that case Toro Rosso was the fourth quickest team, with the starts, with the strategy, with the experience, we could still fight for this seventh place in the races. I think it’s possible and it’s our aim, to be always the fourth or fifth quickest team every single race, and in the race try to use our experience to be the fourth.”
Alonso will be running a new internal combustion engine, turbocharger, MGU-H, battery and control electronics.