23 September 2015
F1 Japanese Grand Prix: Alonso invoking ‘samurai spirit’ ahead of Suzuka
Fernando Alonso is not expecting a step forward in the McLaren-Honda package at the Japanese Grand Prix, but is still looking forward to tackling Suzuka in the MP4-30.
Fernando Alonso will be summoning local ghosts in his bid to improve McLaren-Honda fortunes at the latter's home grand prix this weekend.
The Spaniard, who admits to a fascination with Japanese culture, remains downbeat when it comes to his team's chances of success at Suzuka, with the Honda engine again expected to be outgunned by rivals Mercedes, Ferrari and Renault, but insists that that does not mean any less effort on his part.
“Singapore is now behind us, but Suzuka will surely be a challenge,” Alonso, who was forced into another DNF on Sunday, acknowledged, “Our car is well balanced and feels good to drive but, on a circuit with such a high average speed, it will be difficult to beat our competitors.”
Like Spa and Monza before it, Suzuka is a circuit that engenders a frisson of excitement amongst F1 drivers, and Alonso can at least look forward to the thrill of tackling the unique figure-of-eight layout in a grand prix car, regardless of McLaren's ultimate performance.
“I'm full of anticipation about going to Suzuka,” the veteran admitted, “It's a really tough circuit, and a huge test for the drivers, as a lot of it is really narrow and bumpy, so you need absolute commitment into every corner. It has almost the opposite characteristics to Singapore in terms of set-up, so it's a very different challenge that we'll face next weekend.”
While Honda was expected to take a step forward in Singapore, McLaren's fortunes remained the same, with both Alonso and team-mate Jenson Button struggling for performance before being asked to park their cars before the chequered flag. Despite that, the two-time Japanese Grand Prix winner is looking forward to the annual trip to the land of the rising sun.
“Like Jenson, I have a strong affinity with Japan - I love the country and I've always been fascinated by its culture,” Alonso noted, “I've loved racing there and I've won both at Suzuka and Fuji, so it holds a lot of special memories for me. The fans are one-of-a-kind and the circuit absolutely deserves its legendary status - it's one of the most exciting on the calendar. We'll take the samurai spirit with us to Suzuka and, as usual, we won't give up.”
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