Alonso feels like an amateur as McLaren offers help to Honda




McLaren are in their worst season perhaps in their entire racing career. The team announced recent upgrades before the Canadian race to make the car more reliable which seemed to have failed miserably.

Fernando Alonso feels like an amateur as McLaren offers help to Honda

Fernando Alonso feels like an amateur as McLaren offers help to Honda

Fernando Alonso during the race, lashed out at his team engineer over the car radio during Canadian Grand Prix saying that he felt like an amateur driver. His race engineer advised Fernando Alonso to ‘lift and coast’ over the team radio as the car was consuming more fuel that expected.

Fernando who was already struggling to keep up in the lower end of the pack in a fit of fury lashed out at his engineer over the radio, “I don’t want! I don’t want! Already I have big problems now. Driving with this, looking like an amateur. So I race and then I concentrate on fuel”.

Alonso after the race however insisted that he was not annoyed with the team and it was just a disagreement on when to save fuel. Alonso explained, “Different parts of the race require different techniques of driving, so when you are in the middle of a battle, fuel is a low priority in that moment”.

Ultimately Alonso had to retire from the race making it three consecutive retirements in a row for him this season. Jenson Button too had to retire with an exhaust related problem.

Both the McLaren-Honda cars have suffered at Canada’s harsh Gilles Villeneuve circuit. The track is known for being harsh on the brakes tight slow chicanes and on fuel consumption due to the long high speed stretches. McLaren cars lacked power on the long straights and were not competitive on any front. This probably might have annoyed Fernando Alonso who could barely defend his position before being passed, which lead to the jibe at his engineer when asked to further reduce speed.

McLaren’s chief operating officer Jonathan Neale talking to BBC Sport said, “Actually I agree with Fernando (about his response to the engineer on the team radio). The drivers are trying to manage the race. Fernando is the guy on the circuit trying to get the job done. We should let him get on with it. When we looked at the data afterwards, he could have got the car home.”

It was a “painful” weekend for the team as described by Jenson Button. A problem with the Energy Recovery System in his car in final practice meant that they had to change the engine. Starting from the back of the grid, Jenson Button was handed a drive-through penalty for changing the turbocharger for the fifth time this season. “It was a difficult day made worse by starting last”, said Jenson, “You get put out of sequence when the leaders keep lapping you but the main problem was fuel saving”.

McLaren’s best result this season is Jenson’s 8th place finish at Monaco earning his 4 points which is also the total points for McLaren this year. One can imagine the scale of the failure for the team that enjoys such great racing pedigree as McLaren. Eric Boullier, the racing director at McLaren has called on Honda to utilise the might of his team’s resources to improve performance after a difficult Canadian Grand Prix weekend for the McLaren-Honda partnership, littered with failures ultimately resulting in their second double retirement of the season.

“It’s important Honda recover,” he said. “I guess it’s not embarrassing now because they are new into the program, but it’s a question of how fast they will recover’.

Explaining the trust and bond both McLaren and Honda share, Eric said, “It is hard not to blame. It is a management exercise, and we don’t want to be like Renault and Red Bull – fighting in the media. There is no sense in that.There is a proper reason why we moved to Honda, and we are happy with the move, even if it is frustrating now”.

He added that, “You need to keep people regularly informed. Yes, it’s painful, yes it’s maybe embarrassing, but this is Formula 1 where the technology is huge and complex.”

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Anjan K Merkap

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