McLaren boss Zak Brown says he fully sympathises with Fernando Alonso as the double World Champion endures yet another underpowered and uncompetitive season with the McLaren-Honda partnership. He is currently undecided about his future, and Brown is aware that the team must prove itself to him soon if he is to sign a new contract for 2018.
The continuous stream of reliability issues that McLaren's Honda power units are inflicting in 2017 has led to Alonso - who is in the third and final year of his current deal - conceding that he will talk to other teams if the Woking squad's fortunes have not improved by the end of the summer. Alonso's frustration is clear for all to see, and Brown is quick to confirm his understanding of this and the need for a quicker car.
"I totally understand his position, he's a two-time World Champion that wants to be a three-time World Champion and he's only going to do that with a car that can win. As he said, he would love to stay at McLaren and we've given him a great environment, he really enjoys it here, we've got to give him a winning car. It's hard to know when that will be other than we've produced lots of winning cars (in Formula One history)."
Discussing McLaren's lack of engine power and how it may influence Alonso's next move, Brown expressed confidence that Honda can make the same progress made by Renault power units in recent years: "We've seen other engine manufacturers make significant progress over a season if you look at Renault a couple of years ago, where they started and where they ended up.
"As he said, he's going to wait until after the summer break, which is what we've agreed. So I think all we can do right now is put our head down and try and demonstrate we're going to be in a position to win next year, by the time he's (Alonso) ready to make a decision."