Fernando Alonso says McLaren’s disappointing race result at Suzuka is a “nasty surprise”, after the Spaniard finished down in 16th place.
The team struggled throughout practice and qualified 15th and 17th with Alonso and Jenson Button, who then dropped to the back of the grid due to an engine change.
Both drivers suffered quiet races, failing to make much progress from their starting positions. Alonso crossed the line 16th and Button 18th at Honda’s home event.
Alonso hopes McLaren’s poor speed at the Japanese Grand Prix will be a one-off and the team will enjoy better fortunes at the next race in the USA.
“Our race today reflected the whole weekend: it was just anonymous,” he said. “To finish 16th and 18th today is a rather nasty surprise, especially after finishing seventh in Singapore, and seventh and ninth in Malaysia, just last weekend.
“I hope this was an exceptional and unique event, and that we’ll return to business as usual at the next race, in Austin.
“It was clear that the layout of the track didn’t suit our package – we lacked downforce through the faster corners.
“I know our car is in fact much more competitive than we were able to show today, and I’m obviously disappointed about putting on such a poor show at Honda’s home race.
“But we’ll head back home, analyse what happened, and bounce back from this disappointment.”