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Fernando Alonso says McLaren has taken a step backwards with reliability issues

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SPA, Monza -- Fernando Alonso gave a damning assessment of McLaren's increasingly difficult season after another retirement at the Italian Grand Prix.

Alonso's race lasted just nine laps before he crawled back into the pits with car trouble. The two-time world champion, who is quitting Formula One at the end of the current season, had moved up into the top ten just before the problem occurred.

The Spanish driver said McLaren has gone backwards in the reliability department.

When asked if it was another chapter of a painful season, he said: "It is, it is. It is a shame because sometimes we were in the points like here. The reliability of the team seems to make a step backwards. We definitely need to improve that for the remaining races."

Having opted against taking a new engine, and the grid penalties that come with it, for the Italy race Alonso admits it is a double dose of frustration.

"We were 10th again, already in the points in Monza. Something unexpected. It was unlucky again.

"[At] Spa [it] was the first corner. Here again in the first couple of laps a mechanical issue and we lost maybe be possibility of taking points. And also we decided to not change the engine and get a penalty in these races just hoping for points. And now later on in the season we will have to change the engine and start last. So it is a double pain."

During the Belgian Grand Prix, Alonso's teammate Stoffel Vandoorne said McLaren had made a step backwards in terms of developing its car compared to its nearest midfield rivals.