Fernando Alonso says Honda's decision to spend tokens on developing its power unit was primarily for the purpose of reliability and not performance.

The Japanese firm spent two tokens towards upgrading its power unit ahead of the Canadian Grand Prix, raising hopes that it would come to the Gilles Villeneuve Circuit presenting a step forward in top speed, an area where it has struggled this year.

However, Alonso has played down the 'upgrade', insisting the spend was engineered primarily to help improve the engine's reliability following mechanical retirements for himself and Jenson Button in the last three races.

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"The engine is exactly the same this weekend compared to Monaco. We did use two tokens of the nine, but they are more for reliability reasons and some of the problems we faced recently. So in terms of performance it should be exactly the same, we will see."

Reflecting on the Monaco Grand Prix weekend, which saw Button score the team's first points of the year, Alonso admits the car wasn't as competitive as he expected.

"It was a weekend where we expected a lot, because the power effect is quite low. We didn't perform as good as we thought, so we were struggling also with the chassis side. We have a good understanding of what we are missing at the moment in terms of mechanical grip and aerodynamic as well and the behaviour of the car.

"There are many things for us to do and improve, not only the power unit. Also the reliability is not good enough - I retired the car in Barcelona, I retired the car in qualifying in Monaco and in the race in Monaco - so there are some plans to improve that as well."