McLaren-Honda driver Fernando Alonso has admitted that the last three Friday’s during a race weekend they have been working on their 2017 development.
Finishing outside the top ten in both practice sessions, he and his team-mate Jenson Button both suffered an underwhelming Friday, which was expected.
The Spaniard revealed earlier in the week that he wasn’t expecting much performance going into the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix weekend, highlighting the long straights as a major weakness.
“I don’t think we can read too much into what happened on Friday,” said the former Renault driver.
“In FP1 we didn’t really go for a time because we were trying many different things that are important for the future but not for this weekend.
“In fact the last three races we’ve been just working for 2017 on the Friday sessions, and today was no different.”
Despite predicting a tough weekend, the double World Champion is still hopeful on making it into Q3 on Saturday, but admits it is unlikely.
“From what we’ve seen in the last few races, the top six are on a different level, then there are Williams and Force India that looks like they’ll lock Q3 out and then we seem to be behind them, with a number of teams fighting for the best places behind the top ten,” he said.
“Of course, if one of the Williams or the Force India fails, then the faster of our group will make it into Q3.”