Struggles no surprise given car hasn't changed since Spain – Fernando Alonso

Fernando Alonso says it's "no surprise" McLaren is struggling for performance given its car hasn't changed much since the Spanish Grand Prix in May.

Both McLarens failed to escape Q1 for the Japanese Grand Prix, with Alonso qualifying in 18th, a place ahead of team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne who was half a second adrift and just a tenth shy of last-placed Marcus Ericsson, who crashed out of the session.

Although Alonso is confident he got the maximum from his car, he says McLaren's poor performance comes as no susprise given the lack of updates the team have introduced since its one and only major upgrade package at the Spanish GP.

"I think it was the maximum today," he said. "This is the way it is. We’ve been slow all weekend so it was not a surprise that we were slow in qualifying. Let’s see what we can do tomorrow in the race but definitely it’s going to be tough. A tough weekend so far.

"We have the same car from Spain more or less so we are dealing with what we have. When we arrive at races like Singapore or Hungary we score points because the circuits are a little bit more challenging but at this type of circuit we will struggle. We will still aim to take points because obviously that’s important for the Constructors Championship. We will try to do our best."

With no rain forceast for Sunday's race, Alonso isn't confident of adding to McLaren's points tally: "We were hoping for some rain or something on Sunday but apparently it’s completely dry tomorrow unfortunately but yeah the start, the strategy, but it seems we don’t have the pace to be in the points so, it’s going to be tough but if there’s an opportunity we will take it.