McLaren admit the Bahrain International Circuit "won't be an easy track" for the MP4-30, but they are still optimistic about improving further.
Fernando Alonso: "For me, China was a significant step forward for us and particularly for me as it’s the longest race distance I have done so far! Every lap we complete provides us with extremely valuable data, so to finish the race was a great improvement and proves the gains we have made in the reliability of our package. I had a lot of fun out there and our performance in the final stint was very positive.
"Now, we go to Bahrain, and our aim is to keep building on this momentum with reliability, and of course to keep pushing for gains in performance, as we have been doing every weekend. In Australia, Malaysia and China we have seen big improvements each weekend, and although these two races are back-to-back, we will arrive in Bahrain and begin working on set-up straight away to maximise our potential at this circuit.
"This will be a challenging track for our car, for sure, but our first aim is to finish the race and take away as much data as possible to prepare ourselves for Barcelona onwards. We are certainly seeing progress all the time and the car feels great to drive, so we have a good base to keep developing. I’m looking forward to seeing what this race brings and getting the most from the weekend in every session."
Jenson Button: "China was a tricky race for us although we did see a lot of positives. There’s been a definite step forward at each race so far, although sadly this didn’t translate into the gains on track that we’d hoped for during the race, so we’re busy working out the reasons for that and will channel that into set up preparation for this weekend.
"The incident with Maldonado towards the end of the race in China was unfortunate and a simple misjudgement on my part as we braked into the corner. Nevertheless, until that point our battle was a lot of fun and it was very encouraging that we were able to take the fight to the Lotus in the corners, even though on the straights it was much more challenging.
"Bahrain is always a really great event for the fans and it’s a fun track to race on – I won there in 2009 and I enjoy driving there. Although our car isn’t suited so well to this track layout, we’ll still be pushing to continue our development as we look forward to the start of the European season and hopefully more gains in performance."
Eric Boullier, racing director: "China actually showed some positives for us on many fronts, not least because we successfully got both cars to the end of the race for the first time this season. This has provided us with invaluable data and insight which we will carry through into the rest of the season and use to facilitate further performance improvements. Everyone at McLaren-Honda, in both companies, has been working tirelessly, and this was a significant achievement that we should all feel immensely proud of.
"Our focus now is maintaining our reliability and steadily progressing in terms of outright performance. Bahrain is a spectacular facility and a circuit that we love going to; it’s a special event for the team. As the race takes place under floodlights it’s fantastic for the fans and there’s always a very unique atmosphere. The circuit itself is very interesting and produces great racing on its fast corners, so we will be looking to race as hard as we can with our nearest competitors this weekend.
"It won’t be an easy track for our car given its high-speed nature, and since it takes place just one week after China, it proves tricky to bring any major developments to the car. Nevertheless, we have seen definite progress over each race weekend so far, and we expect it to be no different in Bahrain. The whole team is pushing very hard to build on our car’s performance and although this weekend will be challenging – finding the optimum set-up and balance in the car is crucial – we are looking forward to further developments once we finish this cycle of flyaways. We will give it our all in Bahrain, as always, and try to enjoy everything this impressive circuit has to offer."
Yasuhisa Arai, chief officer of motorsport, Honda R&D Co Ltd: "It was positive that both cars finished in China and it shows our improvements in reliability, so we are focusing on maintaining this in Bahrain.
"As we know, the Bahrain Grand Prix is very hard on fuel and, with its many straights, it’s a very demanding circuit for the power units. Despite our short experience on track, we will combine the data gathered in the last three races to gain better positions in the race this weekend."