Fernando Alonso has admitted that his fifth place in the Hungarian Grand Prix came more by luck than judgement as McLaren-Honda's dismal season drags on into its second half.
The Japanese half of the partnership has already conceded that it underestimated the scale of its return to F1, and McLaren's Budapest result masks just how tough the year has been, with Alonso's fifth and team-mate Jenson Button's ninth contriving to add twelve points to the five mustered in nine races previously.
A similar distance remains to the chequered flag in Abu Dhabi in November and, while there are always optimistic quotes coming from McLaren mouths, the team admits that Spa, this weekend, and Monza, in two weeks, are not likely to favour the MP4-30 package, despite upgrades to the Honda V6 in Belgium.
Now Alonso admits that, while it was good for morale, his top five finish in Hungary was as much about issues for others as it was a step forward on a favourable track for his own team.
“I think it was half-and-half, a bit of both,” he confirmed, “There was a better performance from us in Hungary, and I think the circuit layout helped us a little bit in terms of characteristics of our car, but then we've been lucky with some of the retirements and some of the incidents that happened that helped us to get some places. I think 12 or 13 cars had some issues in the race in terms of penalties, in terms of mechanical failures, so I think that was definitely a help.”
While DNFs remain an unknown at any round, this weekend will see another question mark introduced in the shape of revised start procedure rules that limit the input of teams and put the process back into the hands of the drivers.
An old hand like Alonso has seen similar changes over the years, however, and the Spaniard has already played down the significance of the latest tweak.
“I think it will not be a significant change,” he insisted, “I know there is some doubt, but I think, for next year or the following years, it will be more different. What we will have here is some restriction on communication with the drivers and the team, but I think, at least in our team, we were not doing any specific communication or strategy during the formation lap, so we don't change much.”
Similarly, the veteran is unconcerned by plans to limit teams input in other areas from next season, with proposals coming closer to fruition during meetings around the Spa weekend.
“It will not make a huge change because we receive some information on the radio about tyres and about fuel and about some other things on the car, but we are definitely aware of what is happening in
the car,” he reasoned, “These are just solutions for the specific issues but the limitations are in the race. If the information is not coming, then it will come by instinct and by the reactions of the car.
“We will have to pay a little bit more attention to a few things that now we are relying on a little bit on the radio, but it's not a big change. Probably it's welcome to have a little bit more to do in the car and feel a little bit more important.”