McLaren driver Fernando Alonso says the result will probably "not look good" this weekend in Austria, with the Spaniard poised to pick up penalties for an engine change.

Alonso will benefit from some design tweaks at the Red Bull Ring - including a new short nose - but looks set to have to start from the back of the grid as a result of changes made by Honda to the power unit.

"It will be another weekend that will be tough and where the result will not look good, especially because they are probably some penalties to pay," Alonso said on Thursday in the countdown to the eighth round in the 2015 Formula 1 World Championship. "I think it is going to be a test weekend for us, very important, we have some updates on the car, so hopefully we go out of this weekend with some answers and we have the test next week as well.

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"Important days ahead for us, I'm quite optimistic with the things that are coming to the car for the near future, but as I said, in terms of result it will not change too much this weekend and probably it will be even worse."

Alonso, however, was insistent that he remains very positive and is convinced in time McLaren Honda will get there.

"Obviously the position we found ourselves in during winter testing was not ideal, probably we expected a little bit more, but that is the way it is," he reiterated. "I think the performance has always been improving race after race and here that will be the case as well. The thing of this weekend is just the final result, we don't know if it is going to be good enough to make us happy because probably with the penalties we will start already at the back and pay some extra penalties. That will be not ideal.

"However, in terms of performance we expect a lot from the car over the next month or two. So we will see how we end up before the summer and how we end up at the end of the year. That will give us some hope for next year.

"Why do I remain optimistic? Because I see a lot of things inside the team, I see the group of people we have, I see the programme that we have in terms of the chassis and in terms of engine, I see the resources and I see the talent of the team. So it is a question of time when we will be competitive.

"Hopefully we will make it very short, this period of learning that we are having at the moment. I am optimistic," he concluded.