Fernando Alonso is braced for a "tough" and "demanding" Japanese Grand Prix on Sunday when he starts from last place on the grid at Suzuka after taking a Formula 1 grid penalty.

A hydraulic leak forced McLaren to change Alonso's entire Honda power unit, triggering a 35-place grid drop that resigned the Spaniard to P20 for the start of the race.

Alonso managed to qualify 10th on Saturday before dropping back after the penalty was applied, and is uneasy about his chances of fighting back up the order given the lack of overtaking opportunities at Suzuka.

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"Definitely it’s not a dream to start here at the back with the high-speed corners. It will be difficult to follow all the cars and be a tough race, we know that," Alonso said.

"But hopefully we can do a good start, play a bit with strategy and we will see how the pace of the car is tomorrow. We know we need some speed to overtake some cars on the straight which normally we don’t have, so it’s going to be demanding and complex to execute. There are not really any clear targets but hopefully close to the points will be good."

Alonso was passed in the drivers' championship by McLaren teammate Stoffel Vandoorne last time out in Malaysia, and admitted his frustration at having missed out on the chance to score big when the team's best chances have arisen.

"Obviously I was a little bit unlucky, this year we had three circuits we could score big points: Monaco, Singapore and Hungary," Alonso said.

"Monaco I was at Indianapolis, Singapore I was taken out at the first corner, so obviously we would have liked to have scored more points than we have now."