After the briefest of breaks in the Formula 1 calendar, the team continue the season with a trip to the 'Land of Fire' for the 2018 Azerbaijan Grand Prix.
McLaren finished in the points at last year’s dramatic race, with Fernando coming home in ninth place.
The Formula 2 races in Baku this weekend are also something to keep an eye on, with McLaren Reserve Driver, Lando Norris continuing his championship quest. Lando is currently at the top of the leaderboard after finishing first and fourth in Bahrain's season opener.
|Where||Baku City Circuit|
|When||27 - 29 April 2018|
|Start time||16:10hrs local, 13:10hrs BST, 14:10hrs CET|
|How many laps||51|
|Tyre choice||Yellow Soft, red Supersoft, purple Ultrasoft|
Fernando Alonso, McLaren Driver
“Last year’s race in Baku was certainly a memorable one for us. It was a crazy grand prix and we scored our first points of the season there, so we’ll naturally be looking to repeat that this weekend.
“Even though it’s only been on the calendar for a short time, this circuit is already known among the drivers as a great racer’s track. It’s the fastest street track of the year and also one of the longest, so it’s pretty tough on the car and the driver, but that’s definitely part of the appeal.
“We know our limitations and where we need to improve our package, and, although we bring parts to test to every race weekend, we aren’t anticipating a radical change in our performance in Baku. However, we’re learning more and more about the behaviour of our car each time we step into the cockpit, and in Azerbaijan we’ll be maximising everything we have as usual to score as many points as possible.”
Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren Driver
“Baku City Circuit is a pretty tough but also enjoyable track, and it’s quite challenging for the drivers. You literally drive through the historic centre of the old town which was a really cool experience last year, and overtaking is tricky on the narrow streets.
“Saying that, we saw anything but a processional race last year and hopefully we can take advantage of any drama that this track throws at us next weekend. Last year was tough as the only real overtaking opportunity is at the end of the long straight, and it’ll be tricky for us again, but we’ll see what’s possible with the MCL33.
“As well as making sure we set ourselves up on the right strategy, for me the start will be crucial on Sunday. I’ve not had the best starts over the last couple of races and with overtaking tough here we need to try to maximise our starting position. In China, we fought hard but I picked up some floor damage which made pushing ahead very difficult, so I’m looking forward to a tight battle in the midfield and progressing as much as we can in the race.”
Eric Boullier, Racing Director
“On a track where drama and action seem to have become almost par for the course in Baku given last year’s events, strategy will be a key factor in next weekend’s race. We know our package tends to deliver more on Sundays, so the important thing will be to react quickly to anything that happens.
“We must keep our heads down, push hard and take any and every opportunity that comes our way. Both of our drivers have raced brilliantly in the first grands prix of the season and I know they’ll be relishing the opportunity to maximise what they have underneath them in Baku.
“This fast, challenging street circuit has already become a welcome and exciting location on the calendar and we’ve witnessed some great battles. Overtaking is at a premium, so, while we don’t underestimate the importance of our starting grid slots for Sunday’s race, we’re also looking forward to the challenge that racing through these historic city streets brings.”