Fernando Alonso is expecting an upturn in performance next weekend at the Red Bull Ring, as the Austrian venue should theoretically cater to the qualities of his McLaren-Honda MP4-31.

The Spaniard left Azerbaijan a fortnight ago thoroughly disappointed, not only by McLaren’s outright lack of performance in the streets of Baku, but also by his lap 48 retirement following a gearbox issue.

“After the unique demands of the Baku City Circuit, we return to a more conventional racetrack in Austria,” Alonso said.

“It’s a much shorter track than Baku, but it’s still very challenging because you cannot afford to make any mistakes.

“A lap takes less than 70s, which squeezes the grid closer together and there are only a few tenths of a second between rows.’

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Alonso underlined the qualities necessary to be fast on the track nestled in the Styria mountains, and also hopes his day of racing on Sunday will go beyond the opening lap, having been taken out last year by Kimi Raikkonen’s Ferrari shortly after the start.

“To be fast you need good traction and efficient aero, which we have. For that reason, I hope we can be more competitive than we were in Baku – and I hope to have a longer race than I did last year, which was over on the opening lap!”

Despite his current inability to fight for a outright win, or even a podium finish, Fernando Alonso’s motivation in succeeding at McLaren remains intact.

“There are weekends where we’re competitive and ones we struggle with the long straights that will be painful,” he told Autosport.

“I think in general the team is doing OK. After Mercedes, someone has to lead the sport, and if you look at all the other teams and manufacturers, I don’t think anyone is in a better position than McLaren-Honda for the future.

“There is still a long way to go, but I don’t think anyone is doing better than us.”

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