Even though he finished behind both the Haas and the Renault F1 cars in the Spanish Grand Prix, McLaren driver Fernando Alonso thinks his team has now caught up to its mid-field rivals.
This statement follows the introduction of a substantial upgrade package by McLaren. This was the first time the Woking-based manufacturer took part in Q3 this year, with Alonso, who eventually started from eighth position in Barcelona.
“We knew that the upgrades would put ourselves in a better position in the midfield pack,” said the Spaniard. “We did a good step. We were eight tenths behind Renault in Baku, nine tenths behind in China, but [in Spain] we were the same in qualifying and in the race.”
“I think we caught up with Renault and probably with Haas as well, but the top three teams are still developing the cars at the same rate we do and unfortunately they’ve kept that gap.”
While Alonso did have to use supersofts in order to make it to Q3 in Barcelona, he was still within only 0.045 seconds of Kevin Magnussen’s Haas, as reported by Autonews.
The McLaren-Renault driver went on to say that his team is still lacking straight line speed, which in turn makes overtaking more difficult.
“It’s something that we are working on. We know our weakness on the car and hopefully we’ll find solutions quite soon.”
In the Driver Standings, Alonso has already amassed 32 points, nearly double compared to what he had at the end of the 2017 season. Proof (if any was needed…) that McLaren was right to ditch the underperforming Honda engines in favor of the Renault units for this season.