Fernando Alonso is still doing his best to keep McLaren's – and his own – spirits up, saying that despite the team's ongoing miseries, he is expecting better fortunes in the latter part of the season.
The Spanish driver and for World Champion jumped from the frying pan into the fire when he left Ferrari for McLaren at the end of last year, never expecting such a difficult adventure as engine partner Honda struggles to render its power unit performing and reliable.
While the team's prospects can only improve form here, Alonso believes a huge jump in performance is just around the corner.
"I think the second part of the year will show a completely different McLaren, much more competitive," Alonso said on the Formula1.com website. "The steps that are coming are quite big.
"This is not too difficult when you are at the back of the grid and two seconds off the pace – every step then is half a second or eight-tenths. When you are fighting for a podium you [only] gain 0.1s every two weeks. I think we will get much closer to the top guys in the second part of the championship."
Given Honda's quest for power and performance, the upcoming Spa and Monza races appear particularly unsuited to McLaren, and Alonso expects to struggle at those venues. But he readily acknowledges that the McLaren-Honda partnership is an enduring work in progress, with its long-term potential still intact.
"I am happy with the car, with the philosophy of developing it and with the next steps that will come,” he concluded. “I am happy with the progress of Honda."
"We had a completely new start from zero, and unfortunately in this sport there is no time to wait. We all want to do it right now and quickly, and this is not happening.
"The important thing is to not get frustrated, keep working in the same direction. We have the talent, the resources, the commitment – it is a question of time.”
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