Alonso & McLaren facing engine dilemma at Suzuka
Take an upgrade and start from the back of the grid, or stick with what you've got? McLaren need to find an answer to that question.
Fernando Alonso admits McLaren are in a quandary over whether to accept an engine upgrade from Honda for their home race in Japan.
McLaren have shown signs of late-season life, with Stoffel Vandoorne achieving seventh-place finishes in Singapore and Malaysia, where both cars made it into Q3.
As Honda have again failed miserably to offer a reliable engine upgrade, both Vandoorne and Alonso will be hit with huge grid penalties if elements of their engines are updated.
And Alonso admits that the desire to give Honda's home fans something to cheer before McLaren end their partnership weighs heavy.
"It is the home GP for Honda, so we want to do well there," Alonso told reporters.
"We know how important that race is for the team. About 30 or 40 per cent of our engineers are Japanese, so we have a big moment of the year.
"The families are there, the Japanese fans, they support a lot our team, so it is a very special weekend for us and we want to perform well.
"If there is a new spec engine or any improvements, that will be with a penalty and we will start last.
"So it is difficult to compensate if we want to start last with an extra horsepower, or do we want to do a perfect weekend and try to score points?
"It is not up to us. The Honda engineers will tell us if first if there is an evolution ready that we don't know yet and if there is something ready, if it is better to take that opportunity or not."