Alonso enjoying McLaren's 'clear and clever' progress

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Fernando Alonso says he is encouraged by the "clear and clever" progress he is seeing from McLaren as it develops the MP4-30.

McLaren has started the season at the back of the field due to issues with the Honda power unit, but rapid improvements have seen the team more competitive in Malaysia and China. The MP4-30 itself has been marked out as a strong car aerodynamically, with McLaren bringing a number of updates already so far this year.

Asked what is the biggest surprise regarding the car, Alonso replied: "How easy it is to drive.

"It is not too tricky, picky, it is a car that gives you confidence and you can push more and more. It doesn’t give you funny surprises, which is positive. Secondly, now the team is developing the car and the parts are quite clear and clever, everything is working as they expect. This is good news."

With McLaren targeting Q2 at the last race in China, Alonso believes it is a realistic aim ahead of the Bahrain Grand Prix weekend.

"I think the cars are very similar to China – for everybody, not just for us – so I don’t think the performance will change so much. The goal is to keep improving and if the track characteristics and the weekend goes well, Q2 is possible. If not, it won’t be possible.

"There are many things we need to learn. There is a good programme for testing tomorrow, some aerodynamic parts in FP1 and tyre testing in FP2, so this is the key part of the weekend for us, and not to concentrate on positions 13, 15 or 17 - that is the second priority. If we make sure that the direction we are going in the right one, then this is the key performance."

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