Alonso: McLaren set for “huge step” in Barcelona

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Fernando Alonso believes that McLaren will make a “huge step” at the Spanish Grand Prix in two weeks’ time following its worst ever start to a Formula 1 season.

The British team currently sits tenth in the constructors’ championship without a single point to its name after a difficult start to life with new engine supplier, Honda.

Throughout winter testing and the first four races of the season, McLaren has encountered a number of teething problems with the power unit, resulting in two retirements and two pre-race failures that reduced the team to a one-car effort in Australia and Bahrain.

However, Alonso is pleased with the progress that is being made with the MP4-30 car, and remains confident that the team can make another big step forwards at his home race on May 10.

“We are all united,” he told the official Formula 1 website. “We are all grown up and committed to this project.

“Nobody is panicking in this tough moment, and panicking can be very easy in such a tough situation.

“I predict that in Barcelona we will see the first huge step and also the power effect is low in Monaco so we should also have a good race there.

“My prediction is that the next three races will be very interesting for us. The steps that we’ve made since Melbourne all point in the right direction. We will be working flat out to increase the performance for Barcelona.

“And the odds indicate that we should. I am optimistic, even if I am aware of the fact that still a lot needs to be done.”

Alonso came close to scoring McLaren’s first points of the season at the last race in Bahrain, finishing less than four seconds behind Felipe Massa in tenth place.

However, the plight of teammate Jenson Button – who suffered three breakdowns in four sessions and missed the race due to a recurring electrical problem – brought McLaren back down to earth last weekend, making the work that it must do ahead of the race in Barcelona clear.