Fernando Alonso feels the Austrian Grand Prix presents the ideal opportunity for McLaren to respond from his disastrous race in France both on and off track and is eager to “deepen our understanding of the car” after struggling for performance at Paul Ricard.

The two-time Formula 1 world champion was given a hefty bump down to earth from the highs of winning Le Mans 24 Hours with McLaren proving to be the second-slowest car on the grid at the French Grand Prix.

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Life off track was equally tricky for McLaren who came under scrutiny after reports of unrest inside the team after struggling to meet targets in its first year with Renault engines since splitting with Honda.

Alonso, who failed to break out of Q1 in qualifying before being fading out of the race, conceded his McLaren MCL33 lacked outright performance to be competitive at Paul Ricard but is hopeful of a speedy recovery in the second leg of F1’s triple-header.

“I think we go to Austria looking to deepen our understanding of the car. We’re making progress, and we will get there,” Alonso said. “After a disappointing result, the best thing you can do is move on, so it’s good that we have another race this weekend. And the weekend after.

“I like this track – it’s a good mix of the new and the old. The big hills, the gradient and the compact nature of the paddock all remind you that this was once one of F1’s grand old venues; but the modern facilities are also a fantastic addition.

“The lap itself is great: it’s a place you have to constantly attack in order to get a good lap-time, and, while there are only really five corners, they’re always ready to bite if you over-commit.”

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