Fernando Alonso says he and McLaren are bracing themselves for a tricky weekend at the Baku City circuit, but insists he is even more determined to make up for the team’s difficult start to the year.
The nature of the Baku street circuit means the Woking-based outfit is likely to be at a disadvantage to its rivals with the number of long straights and its lack of reliability and performance in 2017.
The double world champion suffered another disappointing weekend in Montreal after retiring from a potential points finish during the final stages, leaving McLaren as the only team yet to score this season.
Alonso believes the power unit failure he suffered will result in a grid drop for the grand prix, but he remains upbeat a surprise result can be salvaged.
“After getting so close to scoring our first point in Canada and suffering another retirement, we go to Baku with even more determination, but it’s no secret that we expect to find this weekend tricky,” he said.
“After the power unit issues it’s likely we’ll need to take penalties, and the nature of the narrow, fast straights and tight corners means overtaking is generally tough. However, it’s certainly not impossible, and we’ll keep fighting as we always do.
“Baku City Circuit is the fastest street track on the calendar, so from a driver’s perspective it’s really exciting to be racing at such high speeds with the walls closing in on you either side.
“As usual, the starts are always one of the most crucial points of the race for us, so getting the set-up just right on Friday in time for qualifying on Saturday will be the most important thing.”