Fernando Alonso feels McLaren-Honda can expect a more competitive race weekend in the Austrian Grand Prix than the team managed in Azerbaijan as it looks to kick-off the European mid-season with a return to the points.
The Spaniard, along with team-mate Jenson Button, failed to make it into the top ten in Baku, Alonso retiring with technical problems in the closing stages of the race.
Marking the second event in succession that neither McLaren driver had made it into the points, Alonso nonetheless predicts the MP4-31 package is better suited to the sweeping Red Bull Ring and should be fighting towards the sharper end.
“After the unique demands of the Baku City Circuit, we return to a more conventional racetrack in Austria. It's a much shorter track than Baku, but it's still very challenging because you cannot afford to make any mistakes. A lap takes less than 70s, which squeezes the grid closer together and there are only a few tenths of a second between rows.
“To be fast you need good traction and efficient aero, which we have. For that reason, I hope we can be more competitive than we were in Baku – and I hope to have a longer race than I did last year, which was over on the opening lap!”
Alonso, with his best finish of fifth place from the Monaco Grand Prix, comes into the ninth round of the season 13th in the standings with a sizeable 13 point advantage over Button.