Fernando Alonso, McLaren, Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, 2017

Alonso: McLaren have best handling car this weekend

2017 Mexican Grand Prix

Posted on

| Written by

Fernando Alonso believes McLaren have the best handling car of all ten teams at the Mexican Grand Prix this weekend.

After posting the fifth-quickest time in Q1 in qualifying – a time that would have been fast enough to get McLaren into Q3 – Alonso and team mate Stoffel Vandoorne both chose not to run in Q2 due to their grid penalties.

Alonso says he believes McLaren have the potential to be particularly strong around the Mexican Grand Prix circuit.

“We were surprised from yesterday,” says Alonso. “I think we saw very good potential in the car from practice, that was a nice surprise.

“Today we confirmed it in qualifying, being very strong. The car felt great. Great grip in the corners and the high speed sectors especially. For the last three years we’ve struggled a lot, but I think today, at least, we had probably the best car out there.”

Despite the performance, both McLarens will be starting tomorrow’s race from near the back of the grid following their latest round of excessive power unit element grid penalties.

“Obviously it’s frustrating,” admits Alonso. “We have to pay penalties in four or five races in the season. You know, those races it seems that we could be very competitive without penalties, but nothing we can do now. Hopefully we can recover tomorrow. It’s going to be interesting if we can overtake cars, that will be the key point because I think we have the pace.”

2017 Mexican Grand Prix

Browse all 2017 Mexican Grand Prix articles

Author information

Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

Posted on Categories 2017 F1 season, 2017 Mexican Grand Prix

Promoted content from around the web | Become a RaceFans Supporter to hide this ad and others

  • 20 comments on “Alonso: McLaren have best handling car this weekend”

    1. Keep the progress, McLaren. Next year will be epic with ALO, VET, HAM, VER, RIC fighting for the championship.

      1. no not RIC as knowing red bull, they will only favour one driver for the championship.

      2. @naylamp I like the optimism but McLaren are 9th right now… the numbers don’t tell a great story. From the last 10 years, the biggest jumpers in WCC position from one year to the next are Honda/Brawn (9th to 1st in 2009) and Williams (9th to 3rd in 2014). However, 2009 and 2014 were of course years with significant rule changes.

        If we just look at the other years where the rules remained more stable between years, the highest gainers are as follows:

        09 to 10 – Renault (8th to 5th)
        10 to 11 – various (no one jumped more than 1 place, though Williams fell from 6th to 9th)
        11 to 12 – various (no one jumped more than 1 place, no one fell more than 1 place either)
        12 to 13 – Mercedes (5th to 2nd)
        14 to 15 – Ferrari, Sauber and Lotus all jumped 2 places, McLaren fell 4 places with the engine swap
        15 to 16 – McLaren (9th to 6th)
        16 to 17 as of today – Renault (9th to 7th, could yet realistically overtake Toro Rosso or even Williams to jump a further 2 places)

        So while McLaren is indeed getting a new engine, I think the numbers (hopefully I crunched them correctly) show that it’s much easier to fall down the order than to rise up significantly. After all, McLaren hasn’t been a contender since 2012 when they last won races.

        1. But you have to take into account that mclaren’s current position in constructors’ championship is due to bad reliability. It doesn’t show all the truth in terms of performance. Probably mclaren would be 4th (at least during the second part of the season) Don’t you think?

          1. Perhaps, but Renault’s reliability isn’t Mercedes-like either. I’m hopeful because nowadays McLaren seem to have much improved qualy pace over the season, but in F1 where everyone is constantly improving, I just wouldn’t put money on McLaren suddenly being podium or win contenders.

            1. Please see Simpson’s paradox to understand your statistical analysis error.

              No reason that dropping a much faster engine into an already well suited car won’t result in a race winner.

            2. @tdm Would you elaborate? I went to check it out I kinda get the feeling that the paradox is about drawing conclusions based on out-of-context statistics. But my intention was to forecast McLaren’s likely year-on-year improvement so I looked up F1 teams’ year-on-year improvements over the past years. Plus, I looked at the best improvements of the past 10 years realising that McLaren are in a scenario where they could be making significant improvement. Is there no value in examining past years’ statistics just because of various circumstances affecting performance?

        2. Brawn 2009 and Williams 2014 also changed their engine supplier to the best one available (and it really mattered in 2014). So it all very much depends on Renault’s effort next year

      3. With that sort of optimism you must be Ron Dennis in disguise

        1. hahaha, +1

      4. Alonso will be a winner contender in some GP next year, like Red Bull this year, then in 2019 McLaren probably will be a title contender and Renault will have some possibility to win. In 2020 5 teams will battle in every gp for the win.

    2. Note that Mexico because of its altitude, is a strange track where although your car has a very high downforce, you still attain very high top speeds because the drag is lower due to the rareified air of higher altitude. This means that cars that generate too much drag benefit the most because of the altitude. The Mclaren is one such example. Its gap in top speeds relative to competition is one of the lowest (344 kmph to 355 kmph) compared to other tracks (~20-25 kmph).
      Further proves that Mclaren is actually a draggy chassis. Its lower top speeds, which are being attributed to Honda all the time, is not correct. Mclaren also needs to improve its car.

      1. Further proves that Mclaren is actually a draggy chassis.

        What? No. It doesn’t prove anything. In simplified model, we could say speed is the sum of forward acceleration provided by engine and drag from air interacting with car aerodynamics. Having a bigger speed when we assume air is giving less drag modifier could mean the car aero penalty is bigger like you said or/and the engine power is lower like what most people claim.

      2. No, the bulk of the drag on all cars is in the tyres, the drag on the body is fairly similar on all F1 cars, whereas the downforce each creates is the big performance differentiatior.

      3. The flaw in that reasoning is that McLaren instructed their drivers to give each other a slipstream down the straights to compensate for their lower top speed, whereas the drivers you are comparing them to were in free air.

        When they were on their own in the practice sessions, they were noticeably slower (about 10kph slower than their qualifying performance), which would put them in about the same position as normal.

        1. They should be okay in the race then, they’ll have company down the straight.
          Especially if it’s the best handling car out there, they can make up ground at the end of the lap and get into position in the slow turns across the rounders pitch.

          1. @bullfrog Though I suspect the first laps will remain critical as they will be a bit blocked in 2nd and 3rd sector by the cars in front. Overtaking on the main straight with a 20kph deficit seems a bit unrealistic. Maybe they’ll opt for an early pitstop to get some free air. Then there is the fuel consumption …

    3. “It’s going to be interesting if we can overtake cars, that will be the key point because I think we have the pace.” Lewis said that you need a 1.4 s delta to be able to overtake, so I think this might prove to be a bit difficult to do. Judging from the practice and qualifying times, everyone apart from Haas and Sauber are within this 1.4 seconds.

    4. if that car does not get competitive with a renault engine next year, I wonder what excuse we will here. Personally I have a feeling that Maclaren will continue to prop up the tail end of the grid next year but Alonso thinks not, I suppose he thinks that if they put a better engine in the car then he has a chance of winning and he should know.

      lets wait and see (or go on about it every day until the start of next season)

    5. Let’s go on about it every day…

      Can’t wait to see Toro Rosso challenging for Q3 next season!Driomed

    Comments are closed.