Fernando Alonso says it is “difficult” to assess the gains yielded by the latest Honda power unit upgrade, as the Spaniard finished 16th and 18th in free practice for the Belgian Grand Prix.
Following a torrid first half of the season, the Japanese manufacturer has brought another engine spec to Spa-Francorchamps. But while Honda promised a “big step” to partner team McLaren, Alonso still trailed pacesetter Nico Rosberg by nearly 2.5s in FP1 and over 3s in FP2.
And the double world champion does not think the trend will improve before Singapore.
“Difficult to say,” Alonso replied when asked whether he could feel any extra horsepower on his MP4-30.
“I think you need to compare both engines on the same day and that’s obviously impossible. On the Honda dyno there is more power and on the data is more power – you don’t need any comparison, you just need to keep going and improving where we can.
“The engine steps are measured normally on the dyno. When you change parts you can see the difference. At this track we know we will be on the last row of the grid; Monza maybe is worse so we are ready to be last in Monza. It will be no surprise.”
To compound matters, Alonso and team-mate Jenson Button will indeed have to serve another mammoth grid penalty on Sunday for using several new power unit components.
But perhaps even more worrying for McLaren is that the next couple of races simply do not hold much hope in the eyes of the 34-year-old.
“Here and Monza are the anti-circuits for us probably. The characteristics are completely the opposite of our car, so two difficult weekends in front of us and we will try to do as much as we can.
“Hopefully some weather change or something crazy happens on Sunday. Also, with the penalties we will start at the back so tough weekend but we try to learn as many things as possible.”
Click here for Friday's gallery of the Belgian Grand Prix