Fernando Alonso – “Honda Engine has no power or reliability”

McLaren have not had the pre-season they were hoping for, and Fernando Alonso naturally is not the happiest man in F1 right now…

With problems ongoing for McLaren-Honda amid rumours of the engine lacking power compared to last year’s model, Alonso has come out and said that the engine is lacking not just reliability, but also power as well. Speaking in a media session yesterday, Alonso said the following;

“I don’t think we are too far back in terms of chassis side, we have only one problem: that is the power unit. There is no reliability and there is no power. We are 30km/h down on the straight, every straight.”

Circuit de Barcelona Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain. Wednesday 01 March 2017. World Copyright: Zak Mauger/LAT Images ref: Digital Image _L0U2224

“So when you are 30km/h down on every straight it is difficult to have a feeling on the car. Everything feels good, but when you arrive to normal speed you don’t know what is going to happen.”

Looking at the current speed trap figures from the test, you can see why Alonso is concerned. Just look at the gap to Mercedes right now…

DAY TWO SPEED TRAP FIGURES
Manufacturers Fastest Car

Mercedes (Bottas) 338.5km/h
Renault (Verstappen) 331.2km/h
Ferrari (Raikkonen) 327.2km/h
Honda (Alonso) 312.1km/h

Whilst the situation is bleak, Alonso states that it is not as bad as in 2015 where McLaren had one of the worse pre-seasons in recent memory. But despite this small crumb of comfort, Alonso further states that it is not good enough after all the hype and optimism over the preceding months. Indeed at the launch of the MCL32, you got the feeling that McLaren was massively excited for this season.

“It is similar to last year to be honest, in 2015, probably we were even [further] behind than now. Probably this year is a bit more frustrating because the change of regulations and things like that, you have higher hopes when you think you can close that gap over the winter.”

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“We need a reaction from everyone. We need to stay united, working close to each other. But definitely a big reaction that I expect from the team immediately.”

McLaren were plagued by an oil tank issue last week which came about after just one lap on the opening day of testing. Speaking about that, Alonso said that it was an “amateur” issue and it shouldn’t have happened, another shot fired at Honda who must be sweating like mad to try and sort the issue out. And when asked whether he could take the Barcelona circuit’s turn 3 flat out, as was seen on a very nice onboard from Bottas released by F1, Alonso said this…smiling;

“Oh yeah, for us, not only Turn 3. For us nearly all the corners are flat.”

Ouch. We can only hope things do improve for McLaren and quickly. For their star driver to come out and admit that this season’s initial feeling is a step back from last year is alarming, fans, the media, probably large portions of the grid couldn’t envision McLaren-Honda taking a step in the wrong direction.