McLaren-Honda heads to Bahrain with its usual selection of worries and weaknesses as one race looks like the next in its present times of troubles.
Since Bahrain appeared on the F1 calendar, McLaren has surprisingly never won at Sakhir, while Fernando Alonso has racked up three wins in the desert, the best record of any driver on the grid.
Sadly, the Spaniard's odds of adding to that tally are as low as a snake's belly. But he'll still drive his heart because that's just the way Alonso rolls.
"I’m looking forward to going back to Bahrain, especially as I missed last year’s race – I have good memories from my three victories there, and racing in twilight is always a fun experience," he said.
"The Bahrain Grand Prix is always a pretty long race, so our first priority is to ensure we have reliability against the heat and harsh conditions of the desert before we can start thinking about performance. "
Alonso labeled his race in China, before his untimely retirement, as another 'incredible' drive. Whether he was sincere or using a bit of self-persuasion, there is no doubt he gave it his all, which in itself is also an incredible feat given how McLaren-Honda's persistent troubles would erode the morale of the average F1 driver - which Alonso clearly is not.
"On the performance side, before retiring the car in Shanghai I was running in a very promising position, and our pace was much stronger than anticipated, so I’ll be pleased if we can have some more good surprises in Bahrain!"
Still, he knows what he's up against in Bahrain, and he'll be once hoping for the best while expecting the worst.
"It will be another challenging race for us; the long straights don’t make it easy and there’s a lot for the engineers to work on. Brake wear and fuel consumption is high, and set-up is tricky as the track temperatures change a lot during the weekend, as we race later into the evening compared to the usual schedule.
"I’m pushing hard to get the absolute maximum out of our package every time I leave the garage, and in Bahrain I’ll approach the weekend in exactly the same way."