Alonso not expecting much in Abu Dhabi

Date published: November 22 2016

McLaren-Honda driver Fernando Alonso has admitted he and his team-mate Jenson Button shouldn’t go into the last race weekend in Abu Dhabi expecting to be confident.

The Spaniard explained that the Yas Marina circuit does not suit their Honda-powered MP4-31 as it boasts long straights, something that has been shown as a weakness for the Woking-based franchise.

However, Alonso said it will not stop them from trying to  get the most out of the weekend and is eager to evaluate how they will do after Friday’s practice sessions.

"The faster first sector and the two long straights in the middle sector at Yas Marina mean that it isn’t a track that will naturally suit our package, but over the course of Friday we’ll work hard to dial in the car to make the most of what we have and extract as much performance as possible," said the former Ferrari driver.

"It’s an interesting track to set the car up for, as although it’s in the desert, the track temperature cools a lot during the course of the race as we reach twilight, so the tyre conditions and grip levels are constantly evolving as we reach the chequered flag. 

"It’s a really unique place and a great circuit to end the season at, and I hope we can push for a positive end to the year."

Compared to 2015, McLaren have made clear progress in 2016 and the double World Champion is proud of what they have achieved this season.

"For McLaren-Honda, this race marks the end of a significant year for the team, and the last time I’ll race with my team-mate Jenson for the foreseeable future," he said.

"It’s been a pleasure to work with him and I’ll miss him being in the garage next to me, but he’ll still very much be part of McLaren-Honda’s plans and I want to wish him all the best for the exciting things he has in store for the next step in his career."