Fernando Alonso braced for ‘tricky’ Azerbaijan GP, expects a grid penalty
Fernando Alonso says he is prepared for another challenging weekend at the high-speed Baku City Circuit, with the Spaniard expecting to take an engine-related grid penalty.
McLaren-Honda has yet to score a point amid a lack of reliability and performance in 2017, with the relationship between the parties becoming increasingly strained.
The Baku City Circuit is likely to accentuate McLaren-Honda's weaknesses, due to the high fuel consumption required at the venue, and several high-speed sections, including the two-kilometre full-throttle section on the run to Turn 1.
Alonso retired from a points-paying position during the closing stages of the preceding race in Canada and expects to take a grid drop this weekend in Azerbaijan as a result.
“After getting so close to scoring our first point in Canada and suffering another retirement, we go to Baku with even more determination, but it’s no secret that we expect to find this weekend tricky,” said Alonso.
“After the power unit issues it’s likely we’ll need to take penalties, and the nature of the narrow, fast straights and tight corners means overtaking is generally tough.
“However, it’s certainly not impossible, and we’ll keep fighting as we always do.”
Alonso’s team-mate, Stoffel Vandoorne, is also braced for further struggles.
“It’s heavy on fuel consumption and puts high loads on the ERS, so we’ll need to try to optimise our package to adapt to the demands that the weekend will throw at us,” said Vandoorne.
“Canada was a disappointing race for the whole team, and we don’t expect Baku to offer us any particular surprises in terms of performance, but we’re learning all the time and working hard to get on top of our issues.”