Fernando Alonso is expecting another grid penalty at this weekend's Azerbaijan Grand Prix after suffering more Honda reliability issues at the last round in Canada.
Ongoing issues with Honda's power unit have seen McLaren suffer a spate of failures throughout the season and Alonso's car most recently took a grid penalty at the Monaco Grand Prix for exceeding its season-long quota of four turbochargers and four MGU-Hs (albeit while Jenson Button was substituting for Alonso). Following another failure in the final few laps of the Canadian Grand Prix, Alonso is expecting to exceed another of his car's quotas in Baku this weekend.
"After getting so close to scoring our first point in Canada and suffering another retirement, we go to Baku with even more determination, but it's no secret that we expect to find this weekend tricky," he said. "After the power unit issues it's likely we'll need to take penalties, and the nature of the narrow, fast straights and tight corners means overtaking is generally tough. However, it's certainly not impossible, and we'll keep fighting as we always do."
Against a backdrop of tension between McLaren and Honda, Alonso upped the pressure on the partnership by setting an unrealistic target of winning a race by September. Such a feat is almost impossible from the team's current competitive position, but in order to keep the team united in 2018 Honda needs to deliver quickly on reliability and performance updates.
However, Honda engine boss Yusuke Hasegawa doubts there will be a tangible step forwards in Baku.
"The race is not back-to-back this year so we're fortunate to have extra time back at the factory to analyse and understand the data collected in Canada. However, we're under no illusions that this weekend will be straightforward for us -- Baku City Circuit has one of the longest straights of any Formula 1 track at over 2km and is a notoriously power-hungry circuit. I think we can expect another tough challenge for the team.
"We're going through a difficult time at the moment, but we're doing all that we can to rectify the situation. We must continue to concentrate on development as one team with McLaren and turn things around as soon as we can."