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Fernando Alonso.Reuters.

McLaren endured a tough time during pre-season testing in Barcelona due to poor reliability and a lack of power from its new Honda power unit, and Fernando Alonso expects those problems to continue in the first race of the season -- the Australian Grand Prix.

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McLaren arrive in Melbourne ahead of the first race, with the least number of laps completed during testing and although they have been working on solving their engine issues, Alonso sounded pessimistic of his team's hopes in Melbourne.

"After a difficult two weeks of testing we're prepared to face a difficult weekend in Melbourne. We'll do our best with what we have and there's a lot of hard work and collaboration happening within the team, but the lack of time before the first race means you have fewer options for big changes," Motorsport.com quoted Alonso as saying.

"The first step will be to work on reliability before we can make any assumptions or predictions about performance, and we will try to enjoy the weekend as much as we can."

Honda, who will be supplying McLaren with its power units, will also be improving its engine mapping for the start of the season. Reports say that mapping was the main cause for their engine issues during pre-season testing and Honda's F1 chief Yusuke Hasegawa claims progress has been made.

"In terms of performance, there has been room for improvement with mapping in order to have better drivability, and with further analysis we were able to make additional changes to be ready for Melbourne," he said.

"We know we are heading in the right direction and we'll continue our efforts in order to increase our competitiveness throughout the season."

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