Having wiped the floor with the opposition in Monaco at the weekend, McLaren is looking to engine developments to bring about a repeat performance on the altogether different Montreal circuit next weekend.

According to as.com in Spain, the Woking operation toiled to get its Canadian-spec engines ready in time for Monaco, in order for them to be used on the other side of the Atlantic. With neither Fernando Alonso or Lewis Hamilton having suffered an engine failure this season, the Principality represented the first of the latest pair of races for which a single engine is to be used, meaning that the newest V8s had to be installed for the street circuit.

The reports suggest that the latest developments could be worth as much as two-tenths a lap to the drivers, but the question remains as to what state the units will be in after their Monaco exertions. Although newspaper reports globally suggested that the 'team orders' furore resulted from the team asking Alonso and Hamilton not to fight over the lead in order to protect their brakes, it may instead have been in order not to put too much strain on engines that had to complete another race distance after Monaco.

With Hamilton having chased down his team-mate in Monaco, there is the suggestion that his powerplant may have suffered, but speed trap figures in the Principality suggest that the improvements did indeed move McLaren ahead of Ferrari for the first time this season. However, the real test will come in Canada, where Montreal's Circuit Gilles Villeneuve highlights engine power a lot more than most other venues.

Alonso has already pointed to the two transatlantic rounds as being pivotal to title race, in which he is currently tied at the top with his rookie team-mate.

Although neither Montreal or, more especially, Indianapolis, have favoured the Spaniard in recent seasons, he insists that he will need to be on top of his game at both if he is to keep himself in the title race.

"You need to be there, you need to be on the podium,," he said over the Monaco weekend, "If not, you start to lose too many points. At the moment, we are four drivers fighting for everything but, if one has two or three bad results, then maybe it's a little bit too [much to lose] in terms of championship points."

Alonso has already finished off the podium in one race this season - when he was pushed back to fifth by Nick Heidfeld's BMW Sauber in Bahrain - but has also won two races, the same as Ferrari's Felipe Massa. It is currently the other Scuderia pilot, Kimi Raikkonen, who is lagging behind in the points race, having retired in Spain and finished only eighth in Monaco, but the Finn insists that all is not lost yet - provided he returns to winning ways before too long.

 

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