The Formula 1 pre-season hasn’t even finished and once again the cracks are showing at McLaren-Honda, thanks to another outburst from the team’s star driver Fernando Alonso.
The Spaniard has endured two trying seasons at the Woking outfit, with whom he and engine partner Honda reunited with the aim of returning the team to championship glory.
In those two seasons, the team hasn’t looked even close to challenging for podiums, let alone wins. Despite Honda undertaking a complete redesign of its V6 turbo hybrid power unit to extract more power and reliability overs its 2016 predecessor, the RA617H model has seemingly failed on both counts.
While McLaren and Honda management are trying to present a united front to the press, Alonso’s frustrations reached boiling point with a number of sarcastic jabs thrown in the direction of the team’s engine builder on Wednesday at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
“We have only one problem: that is the power unit. There is no reliability and there is no power,” he fumed to the assembled media.
“We are 30km/h down on the straight, every straight.”
The speed traps at the Circuit de Catalunya were proof of this. The fastest Mercedes-powered car0 was clocked at almost 340km/h – while the traps showed 331km/h for Renault and 327km/h for Ferrari – and Honda was only managing 312km/h.
The Spaniard denied, however, that the team’s situation was worse than its disastrous 2015 pre-season campaign – Honda’s comeback year – where the car could barely turn a lap without the Honda engine breaking down.
“This year is a bit more frustrating [than 2015] because the change of regulations and things like that, you have higher hopes when you think you can close that gap over the winter,” he added.
Asked if he was able to take the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya’s Turn 3 flat out like many of his rivals, Alonso quipped:
“For us, not only Turn 3. For us nearly all the corners are flat.”
Images via McLaren Honda