With the Hungarian Grand Prix one of McLaren-Honda’s best chances of points, Fernando Alonso admits he took the penalty hit at Silverstone “in preparation” for Budapest.
The double World Champion had a 30-place grid penalty at the British Grand Prix as Honda fitted a new engine, turbo, MGU-H and MGU-K recovery systems to his car following Friday’s first practice.
The penalties meant Alonso started on the final row of the grid but, given the speed of the Silverstone circuit, it was never a race where McLaren expected to excel.
But, having taken the hit for the new engine components, Alonso heads to the Hungaroring confident that McLaren-Honda stand a good chance of scoring points and hopeful that his new engine parts will go the distance.
“The important thing for us, as always, is reliability,” he said. “Even if our car could perform better in Hungary, we need to have a trouble-free weekend to take advantage of every opportunity for points.
“We made some big decisions in Silverstone in terms of taking grid penalties in preparation for this race, and hope that’s paid off so we can put ourselves in the best possible position for points this weekend.”
He added: “On paper, the Hungaroring presents one of the best opportunities for us this year. The short, twisty circuit means we are less reliant on outright power, and the drivers have to really depend on the capabilities of the chassis to get the best out of the lap.
“I always like returning to Budapest – we get to stay in the centre with great views of the river, and you feel like you’re really part of the city all weekend.
“The temperatures are high and it’s a testing weekend for the teams and drivers – especially since the summer break is so close, but a good result can be a great boost for everyone going into the shutdown period.”