ALL SMILES DESPITE PERFORMANCE: Fernando Alonso says he will remain positive despite the criticism he faced following the 2015 Chinese GP. Image: AFP / Greg Baker
SHANGHAI, China - McLaren is behind Fernando Alonso as the driver continues to be the subject of criticism in Formula 1.
Following his high-profile switch from the now-resurgent Ferrari to struggling McLaren-Honda, Alonso has been taking flak from critics following the 2015 Chinese GP.
A presenter for Sky Italia, for instance, was reportedly suspended for issuing an insulting 'tweet' that caused Alonso to ignore the broadcaster in China.
'RUDE, INACCURATE' TWEET
McLaren says it fully backs its driver.
A spokesperson for McLaren said: "We were astonished and disappointed by Ms (Paola) Saluzzi's tweet, which we regarded as rude, inaccurate, inappropriate and gratuitous and we are pleased that it has been deleted.
"We are aware that Ms Saluzzi has apologised for it, and rightly so."
Doubts remain about the health of the McLaren-Alonso relationship, particularly after the Barcelona testing crash saga and his infamous falling out with the team in 2007.
Team boss Eric Boullier spoke to Italy's La Gazzetta dello Sport: "Alonso is happy at McLaren. I don't know how many times I have to say it.
"People want to create problems between us, but there are none.
"Although he raced here seven years ago, the team and the people around him are new and while it takes time for everyone to grow together, I can tell you I am very happy with the atmosphere in the team and the way it is working.
"Things will improve gradually as the season goes on."
MCLAREN'S ENGINE WOES
His last comment is undoubtedly about the current performance of the McLaren-Honda package, and the likelihood Alonso and team mate Jenson Button will struggle on the 'power circuit' of Bahrain this weekend.
After that, though, comes Barcelona, and Boullier is quoted by Autosprint as saying that in Spain "We will have another evolution of the engine.
"We know that the power unit has ample room for improvement, but the MP4-30 will also progress. We will have a major aerodynamic package (for Barcelona) on a track that is traditionally one of the places most indicative of whether you are doing a good job or not."
Stay with Wheels24 for the 2015 F1 season – fresh reports every day.