Fernando Alonso has admitted that he disobeyed a direct instruction from McLaren to save fuel during Sunday’s Canadian Grand Prix.
Having tirelessly praised the McLaren-Honda reunification in his return season with the Woking squad, Alonso has endured a nightmare season and yesterday racked up his third successive DNF – the first time in his F1 career that this has happened – with an exhaust failure in his MP4-30.
During the race, the McLaren star was instructed by the team to save fuel in order to improve his odds of making the finish, but the Spanish veteran was having none of it.
“I don’t want, I don’t want! I have really big problems now, driving with these [others] and looking like amateurs. So I race and then I concentrate on the fuel [later].” – Alonso’s reply to McLaren
Speaking after the race, Alonso explained that he was trying to have some fun racing with other competitors early in the race, and that his plan was to concentrate on fuel saving later on.
“Right from the first lap I was told to save fuel, but I was in the middle of a few battles,” he told reporters after the race.
“We are 35 km/h behind Ferrari on the straights, we had to save fuel, we had to save tyres because we were stopping once, and I was fighting with them.
“After two or three message I told them to let me fight now and have some fun and then I’ll save fuel at the end of the race when were are alone.”
The two-time World Champion was at pains to stress that he is happy with his decision to join McLaren after five seasons at Ferrari, despite the difficulties he is currently experiencing as the team and engine partner continue a difficult transition.
“We are going through a bad streak and we can’t do anything else but continue working,” he said. “The team is doing all it can and there will be better moments.
“We can’t forget we were here last year finishing fifth or sixth [at Ferrari] desperate because there was no one who could catch Mercedes,” he added.
“Instead of being fighting for sixth or seventh we took a risky decision, which was going to McLaren-Honda. This year we are paying the price of it being the first year and having a lot of things to do, but otherwise I’d be here talking about having finished fifth or sixth.
“I believe in this project. I’m enjoying the experience.”
Image via McLaren Media Centre