Fernando Alonso confirmed that McLaren still has a lot of work to do to return to the front of the f1 field after team-mate Jenson Button was forced to miss Sunday's Bahrain Grand Prix.

The Briton failed to set a time in qualifying on Saturday evening and, despite his crew getting the #22 Honda-powered MP4-30 rebuilt in time for the race, data from the ERS when the car was fired up suggested that it may not last long into the 57-lap encounter and the decision was taken, reluctantly, to withdraw the 2009 world champion before he even set off for the grid.

Alonso, meanwhile, converted a promising 14th on the grid into eleventh at the chequered flag - McLaren's second such result in four races - but now heads to the first European race of the year, on home soil in Spain, hoping that the three-week interval provides enough time for the Woking team to overcome its obvious failings.

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"I think we more or less knew we were weak in some areas of the car in terms of reliability, and we have had too many problems always repeating," he sighed, "There are a lot of actions that are going to be done now in the coming weeks.

"It's sad for Jenson because he prepared for the race in the best way [he could] and also sad for the mechanics and engineers - everyone was working late until the race starts [to try and get him in the grand prix]. Hopefully, we are more competitive and stronger next time. We cannot repeat these things...."

Desperate to put on a better showing in front of his loyal fans, and with the circuit least dependant on power coming up after that, Alonso is especially keen that McLaren and Honda find solutions to the problems that have so far plagued the MP4-30.

"There are big races now ahead of us," he confirmed, "The Spanish Grand Prix, obviously for me, is my home grand prix, and Monaco is always special. There is less of a power effect there, so we could perform better, [but] we have to be focused and united now.

"We need to look at many things for Barcelona. We have three weeks to increase the performance, to increase the reliability, so there is some work ahead, but I'm optimistic. [The car] is growing up and I think we are all committed to this project and committed to this comeback. This is the best thing - all the team is united. It is easy to panic in these tough moments and to get stressed, but it is the opposite. I think this is creating a huge motivation in everybody and, hopefully, we can use this in a good manner and then, in Barcelona, see the first step. I think the next two or three races are going to be interesting for us."