Fernando Alonso says McLaren-Honda is 'sacrificing' some race weekends so it can focus on testing its car, rather than racing it.

The Spaniard is confirmed to be taking two ten-place grid penalties for this weekend's Austrian Grand Prix - which will likely result in an race penalty too - due to a change of the ICE and MGU-H prior to the weekend.

However, yet more reliability issues would hamper Alonso's progress over the course of the day around the Red Bull Ring, the McLaren driver hit by software problems in FP1 before Jenson Button's ignition issues in FP2 forced the team to play safe with his car too.

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Managing just 27 laps over the course of the day, Alonso says that the imminent grid penalties mean he is treating the weekend primarily as an extended test session, before adding it won't be the last time.

"It's a little bit disappointing when you have that penalty before you start the weekend, but in the factory last week we knew what was the goal of this weekend, which was the aero package and the improvements that we brought here and to have a clear answer when we finish the race here.

"We have to use this weekend as a test. We have to sacrifice some weekends and unfortunately this is one of those and I think there are more to come. For the rest of the season we will have a few of these ones, but if we learn things it will be very useful and we didn't manage to do so, so the next day we need to recover time."

Having had the chance to run McLaren's new short nose - which imitates a similar design to that of the Williams -, Alonso says there wasn't enough mileage for it to be judged a success.

"Difficult to know. Unfortunately we didn't have enough laps. It felt good with the new package and from FP1 to FP2 I felt more grip, so I think it's a step in the right direction, but definitely we need more time."