McLaren outlook for Baku bleak, says Vandoorne

Stoffel Vandoorne (Gallo Images)
Stoffel Vandoorne (Gallo Images)

Baku - Fernando Alonso and McLaren-Honda team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne will be "competing to start from the back of the grid" at this weekend's Azerbaijan Grand Prix.

Belgian driver Vandoorne expects the misery to continue for the crisis-hit McLaren team, he told reporters during a news conference ahead of Sunday's race.

"We have some penalties already to start the weekend, which is not ideal, but this is the situation we are in," said Vandoorne.

"We will try to do our best, focus maybe a bit more on race runs and hopefully we can play a bit during the race. We are probably competing to start from the back of the grid."

Lewis Hamilton's 2008 world title was the last of 12 drivers' championships for McLaren, who are enduring their worst run in the team's modern history.

Without a point this season and unlikely to stop the rot this weekend, McLaren have been hit by a series of setbacks as Honda, in their third season as exclusive partners and engine suppliers, struggle to deliver reliable units.

The Japanese company has suffered recurrent problems with its engine components, including another failure for Vandoorne in practice at the Canadian Grand Prix two weeks ago.

Both two-time world champion Alonso and Vandoorne will be using their sixth turbocharger, and other parts, this year and collect likely 15-place grid penalties.

Honda has said it hopes to introduce several new engine components in Baku in a bid to begin to revive its form and end the failures.

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