McLaren-Honda's Fernando Alonso is 'optimistic' he can score points this weekend in the Malaysian Grand Prix, even though he will start at the back of the grid due to a power unit change.
Alonso will get to use Honda latest engine as a result of the change - one that features a 'lighter engine block and a re-designed exhaust, which boosts efficiency' - and while that has landed him with 30 positions worth of grid penalties before his car has even turned a wheel, he isn't too perturbed about it.
“We're ready to take the penalty,” he said on Thursday in Sepang. “In Spa, starting last, I was fourth or fifth after many incidents, so you never know.
“We will start the weekend and the race optimistic about the chance of being in the points, and that's the target for both cars, even if I start last then hopefully we can recover places quite soon.”
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Alonso also added that it is something that has been on the cards for a while: “We knew we had a plan from the middle of the season of where to introduce new engines,” he explained.
“I lost one in Australia in the accident, and we were on engine number two in the second race. We had some further problems. So we knew these penalties would come, and one of the best places was Spa because of the conditions of our engines at that point.
“The second best was maybe Malaysia because the weather could play a big factor in the race, and also Japan is the next race, our home grand prix, and we want to arrive there with some safety in terms of reliability.”
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Meanwhile, after finishing seventh in Singapore last time out and 'best of the rest' behind the Mercedes', Ferraris and Red Bulls, Alonso said that will continue to be the aim in the remaining six events.
“That is the target, to be in the points with both cars every single race; to be in Q3 every single race. We know that at some circuits it's going to be tougher than others, so it will depend circuit to circuit, but we have that possibility in our hands, even if sometimes we are not the fourth fastest, like in Singapore, which in that case was Toro Rosso the fourth quickest team.
“With the starts, the strategy, the experience, we can still fight for this seventh place in the races, so I think it's possible, and our aim to always be the fourth or fifth quickest team every single race, and in the race try to use our experience to be the fourth.”
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