Fernando Alonso heaps praise on the MP4-30 chassis saying it “has been beautifully balanced all season”, which suggests that McLaren-Honda’s very tough first half of the season was mostly due to its power unit.
The rekindled partnership entered this year’s championship surrounded by media buzz and high expectations aplenty only to suffer from poor engine reliability and deliver subpar performance.
Returning to Woking after a bitter first spell in 2007, Alonso has repeatedly expressed his belief in the McLaren-Honda project, though his temper flared at Montreal in the face of another difficult race weekend.
While the Spaniard is aware that his squad’s recent Budapest breakthrough owed much to a chaotic Grand Prix, the double world champion sees it as further evidence that McLaren-Honda keeps making headway in its recovery.
“We're still not where we want to be, but the result in Hungary shows that we're headed in the right direction,” said Alonso, who finished fifth while team-mate Jenson Button was ninth.
“To be able to take on and race the other cars felt great, and, while the result was largely achieved through attrition, we showed throughout that we had to pace to fight for the points.
“This car has been beautifully balanced all season, and was just something I could really push all the way through the race. I'm really looking forward to the second half of the season, I think we'll see more progress.”
Designed along the lines of the “size zero” philosophy, the MP4-30 is the brainchild of Peter Prodromou, who rejoined McLaren after working under Adrian Newey’s wing at Red Bull. Already featuring a very tight rear, Woking’s latest charger was further trimmed down before heading to Hungary, where it sported revised and slimmer sidepods.
Although Alonso saw his car “switch off” and Button suffer an ERS issue during qualifying, Honda said it ran with “no limitations” at Budapest and confirmed to F1i that it will have a major engine update for Spa-Francorchamps.
Click here for F1i's exclusive interview with McLaren racing director Eric Boullier
Click here for a lighter look at some scenes from the Hungarian Grand Prix