After swapping his Honda-powered MCL32 for a Honda-powered Andretti-backed IndyCar to compete in the Indianapolis 500, Fernando Alonso returns to F1 this week for the Canadian Grand Prix.
Jenson Button filled in for the two-time champion at last month’s Monaco Grand Prix while the Spaniard moonlighted in IndyCar’s showpiece event. Unfortunately it failed to pay dividends with Alonso forced to retire on Lap 179 of 200, ironically due to another Honda engine failure.
Speaking ahead of this weekend’s race Alonso said: “It’s good to be heading back to Canada – it feels like I’ve spent a lot of time in North America recently.
“The Indy 500 was an incredible experience and it’s been amazing to learn a completely different style of driving, on a different circuit layout and with a very different car.
“But I’m ready to get back to my ‘day job’ and go racing in F1 again.
“The layout of the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve means it’s very power-limited and therefore dependent on straightline speed and power.
“It’s not going to suit our car as much as the twisty, slower corners of Monaco, but I’m excited to get back in the MCL32, catch up with the guys and girls in the team and get back out on track.”
McLaren racing director Eric Boullier is also realistic about the team’s weekend ahead.
“This circuit will be a tricky platform on which our package is less likely to shine, but we will work hard as always to maximise what we have in our armoury and take advantage of every opportunity on track,” he said.
It has been a disappointing season for the Woking outfit; plagued by reliability issues and lack of performance from its Honda engine, McLaren have failed to score a point after six races.
Image via McLaren Honda