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Belgian GP

Honda’s hopes collapse as Alonso targets 107pc

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Fernando Alonso insists he is not distraught, even though a highly-touted Honda engine upgrade appeared not to have pushed McLaren up the pecking order.

Honda chief Yasuhisa Arai had extolled the potential of the upgrade for Spa-Francorchamps, saying it would bring the power unit in line with Ferrari’s.

But in Friday practice, Alonso and teammate Jenson Button’s cars were faster only than the backmarkers Manor, with Spanish reports revealing the top speed deficit to be in the order of 25kph behind pacesetters Mercedes.

Alonso, however, told the same Spanish reporters that he is not distraught.

“We are realistic and have our feet on the ground,” he said at Spa-Francorchamps. “We know this is an extremely difficult weekend for us as Spa is the ‘anti-circuit’ for our characteristics.

“Here and in Monza we know that we will be around the last position,” added Alonso.

But what about the horse power boost promised by Arai? “The engineers have all the data, also those in Japan, and will analyse it,” he said.

As for how to proceed in Belgium from Saturday, Alonso confirmed that both he and Button will have yet another new power unit fitted, setting the pair up for more competitive outings in Singapore and beyond.

“For Saturday what I expect is to try not to do too many kilometres, achieve the 107 per cent and return to the garage,” he said. (GMM)

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