Fernando Alonso expects to have his work cut out in this afternoon’s Hungarian Grand Prix, and does not believe he will significantly vault up the pecking order.
The Spaniard, who has been making the news this weekend after suggesting his trying 2008 season wouldn’t have been much better if he had stayed at McLaren this year, planted his Renault on the fourth row of the grid in seventh place.
But the 27-year-old admits that he will be hard-pressed to challenge the front-runners having extracted the maximum from his R28.
“All six cars in front of us have been quicker all weekend long,” Alonso told Formula One’s official website. “For us it will be more or less impossible to gain places against McLaren, Ferrari, BMW or Toyota, unless they have problems themselves.”
Alonso has been battling all weekend with tyre graining problems and admits that the R28 is not well-suited to either the soft or super-soft compounds that Bridgestone have brought to Hungary.
“For us the tyres are way too soft. We have a lot of graining with both types of tyres. Doing one lap is not a problem, but for longer runs it is for sure a big concern.”
“Usually during the Friday sessions we have problems with the tyres, Saturday we have less problems and for the race it should be okay. So I think on Sunday it will be much better than we have seen it in practice and qualifying.”
“On Friday we tried to run some laps with the tyres, to see whether they improved for the following laps so we could push harder. We did not get a clear answer, so we still have to understand and learn more about the behaviour on our car.”
Honda vamp up chase
Honda meanwhile have re-ignited their chase to lure Alonso to the Japanese squad for 2009.
“We’d love to have him,” team Principal Ross Brawn was quoted as saying by the Spanish newspaper El Pais. “Of all the drivers right now, he is the only one I see as totally complete, as Michael (Schumacher) was.”
Honda chief executive Nick Fry added: “Hopefully Fernando decides to come to us. We have developed a very advanced KERS system and we are working very hard on the car for next year. We have four wind tunnels, one of them in Japan working on the project, which is well under way.”
Alonso is widely believed to be Ferrari-bound for 2010 and seeking a one-year contract for 2009. However, it is unlikely that Honda will want to accommodate the double world champion for just one year.