The new Formula One season brings with it new regulations, but it’s still business as usual for McLaren-Honda — and that’s not a good thing.
After another frustrating day of testing Wednesday, veteran driver Fernando Alonso placed the blame for McLaren’s woes squarely on Honda and its power unit, according to ESPN. Alonso has been limited limited to 148 laps in his three days behind the wheel of the MCL32 due to several reliability issues.
Since reviving its partnership with Honda, McLaren has lagged behind other teams in terms of chassis and power unit development. However, Alonso insists that isn’t the case in 2017.
“We have only one problem: That is the power unit,” Alonso said, via ESPN. “There is no reliability and there is no power. I think we are 30 kph (roughly 19 mph) down on every straight. When you are 30 kph down on every straight, it is difficult also 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.”
Alonso also was very outspoken about his displeasure with Honda during the 2016 season, and was strategic in doing so. During the Japanese Grand Prix, Honda’s home race, Alonso famously told the team over the radio he felt like he had a “GP2 engine” in his car.
This year, though, the two-time world champion isn’t saving his choice words for mid-way through the season. While speaking to Sky Sports, Alonso made it very clear he feel’s he’s being cheated out of an opportunity to fight for wins.
“I’m driving at my best. I feel I am the best driver out there, I just need an engine that can run as quick as the others on the straight,” Alonso said.
The fact that engine troubles again are costing McLaren track time in the second test isn’t good, but arguably more alarming is Alonso’s assessment of the power unit’s performance. Having a fast unreliable car at least would give Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne a chance to steal some wins, but having a slow unreliable car is every team’s worst nightmare.
Thumbnail photo via Twitter/@MclarenF1