Alonso close to fastest lap with “full deployment”

2015 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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McLaren allowed Fernando Alonso to turn his engine up to “full deployment” as he made a late bid to claim the fastest lap of the race in Abu Dhabi.

Alonso also switched to super-soft tyres for his run at the end of the race which left him 0.279 seconds off the quickest time set in the race by Lewis Hamilton. Hamilton set his time eight laps before Alonso on the harder soft compound tyres.

Racing director Eric Boullier described the achievement as a “reason to be cheerful, if humble”.

“Our corner speeds here have been more than respectable all weekend,” he said. “Over the last five laps of today’s race, we switched Fernando’s settings to ‘full deployment’, not only so as to allow him to have a bit of on-track fun – to which enjoyment he’s been something of a stranger in recent weeks and months – but also so as to find out just how well our car would perform in that performance configuration.”

“The results were more than somewhat encouraging. He carved his fastest lap on the race’s 52nd tour – 1’44.796s – and only two drivers bettered that: Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.”

Alonso, who was delayed by a first-lap collision with Pastor Maldonado, finished the race 17th and unhappy at his penalty for the incident.

2015 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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    Keith Collantine
    Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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    40 comments on “Alonso close to fastest lap with “full deployment””

    1. So an F1 car going as fast as it possibly can has become so much of a rarity that it has it’s own news story.

      1. Of course the context of the Honda engine matters nil in this story.

      2. So a McLaren F1 car going as fast as it possibly can has become so much of a rarity that it has it’s own news story.


        1. Good one!

      3. @tommyb89 Whatever you do don’t let context get in the way of your whining, god forbid Alonso wanted to get a little bit of motivation for him and his team.

    2. Reminds me of that Project 400 effort at Le Mans 1988 when Welter Racing just went there with a car that could do over 400 km/h before virtually exploding :P.

    3. And with the same tires, the gap would be 1.5 sec. No reason to be cheerful.

      1. And 1.5 seconds off Mercedes isn’t respectable? It’s godly compared to where they’ve been.

    4. So,…

      They’re still not fast enough to beat Mercedes and Ferrari even if they have much fresher tyres, run 100% power and tell their drivers to ‘have some fun’.

      Did I miss something or is there absolutely no reason to be cheerful about this?

    5. I just imagine this is what was happening in the McLaren control room….

    6. This crowd is brutal.

      How much fun would it have been (especially for McLaren) if at the end of the race a McLaren held the fastest lap?

      At the end of a dismal season to be able to get within a couple tenths of a the fastest lap is definitely something to be cheerful about. You’ve gotta focus on the positives going into the off-season to get the team fired up and motivated to improve for next year.

      1. Thiago Silvério
        30th November 2015, 0:27

        We should also considerer how limited the PU development was for Honda after some point of the season. If I understood well, the major necessary changes they need at the PU couldn’t be ready for the end of the season, and it took at least the whole first half to have a broad picture of the problems/challenges.

        At McLaren they know that, and they’ve been stressing how fast the car is looking on the corners for several races. So to be just 0.2 seconds off the best lap is really a reason to be cheerful…if the chassis can be this good – and we can’t know how good it is, as the PU delivers an inconstant power – a redesigned Honda PU could put them battling at least in the middlefield next year. To be honest, I’ll be really surprised if they keep in the back of the field.

      2. It would have been brilliant. And they came so close.

      3. You have to fail to succeed. Honda has failed spectacularly and thus know where to improve. I have every confidence they’ll be close next year as a result. Renault, on the other hand, have failed, but also failed to learn.

        1. very, very good point.,

    7. Those last 6 laps at full power. Were they a goodbye gift to Alonso perhaps?

      1. Apparently Dennis has publicly threatened to sack Alonso and Alonso was clueless about it, just like with Ferrari last year. I think in spite of all his radio com he has been the rosiest of McLaren drivers. Jenson always looks as if he’s about to cry. Someone has forgotten how lucky he is.

        1. Peppermint-Lemon (@)
          29th November 2015, 21:53

          TWhatever… You must have missed Jenson’s post-race radio transmission to the team saying how positive the race was and how he enjoyed it. If anything Alonso has been the “moaner” driver of McLaren in 2015.

          1. You don’t remember Jense having some moments on the radio this year? He did it with more of a sarcastic tone, but he was expressing negativity and letting the world know about it every bit as much as FA was. In the middle of the season, Jense even talked about retirement as well and had to be talked into staying on for next year. Lots of short memories around here regarding that. The main difference is that his retirement talk was done earlier in the season.

            It was a tough season for the team and for both drivers, and both certainly had their moments. Let’s not pretend it was just Alonso going through those problems.

    8. Eh I don’t think this is something mclaren should be happy about. Anyone remember when this team used to win races. Now they are happy having the 3rd fastest lap. If Hamilton and vettel had the super softs on it would probably be 1.5 seconds slower though.

      1. Also sounds like a quali mode with nothing to lose whilst all others are in race modes. Still over 2 seconds off in quali but I expect them to be very good next year for some reason. I actually enjoy seeing them like this as Ron is incharge nicer when Whitmarsh was there. As a Ferrari fan it is Ron I cannot stand and I find it funny he came in to improve performance and get a major sponsor instead he has managed the worst year in their history and lost historic sponsors whilst not getting a new title sponsor. Another site claimed Horner said Ron will be unhappy with RedBulls new engine so have Honda ignored Rons veto. You need power to veto Ron has none he has to do as Honda want as their money is propping McLaren up.

        1. You’re forgetting whom made McLaren what it is today,and to whom the majority of the impressive statistics are accredited too.

          1. Peppermint-Lemon (@)
            29th November 2015, 21:54

            Mika Hakkinen? Senna? Prost?

          2. Ron did give McLaren success…..30 years ago. Times change. LDM brought huge success to Ferrari but his time was up in the end rather than looking what the team needed to focus on it became everyone else’s fault. Like drivers we no longer have Hakkinen Prost Alesi etc they are too old same with Ron. Not to mention he is such a “$#@/ it would be great to be rid of him.

      2. If I am not wrong, Vettel actually had super-softs on his last stint…

      3. Didn’t Vettel have the super softs?

    9. The first season where Alonso finishes behind his team-mate on points – it can’t get any worse than this!

      1. Looks can be deceiving mate. Check out the data…and remember, he was in 5th place at COTA before his bullet proof Honda engine went south.

      2. Whoops, nearly asked if he was classified behind Lewis in 2007 on 2nd place finishes count back. But then I opened me eyes, remembered how to read and saw that you said “on points”

    10. Of course Alonso will be there next year.
      Honda employ him, and you discount Honda at your own peril.

    11. how did they go on the speed trap with full deployment?? was it much faster on the straight?

    12. This just shows one thing…

      Hamilton when pushing to catch Rosberg in 2-3 second faster car than Alonso… had to “save” 1.8-2.8 seconds a lap to preserve tires.

      So even when fully pushing in reality he is 3 seconds of his ultimate pace that he could do, if given proper slicks. We are being robed blind here dear viewers.

      Step 1. Banish built to degrade formula and give tire supplier(s) no limits except size.

      1. where do you come up with these numbers? 1.8 to 2.8 seconds? what??

    13. Sweet illusion – Alonso was with supersoft and Hamilton with Soft tyres. In this weekend Supersoft were 1,5 s quicker than soft tyres. So Alonso would be actually 1,7s slower than Hamilton still.

    14. McLaren allowed Fernando Alonso to turn his engine up to “full deployment” as he made a late bid to claim the fastest lap of the race in Abu Dhabi.


    15. I’m a bit puzzled. If your year is completely shot and you’re in PU development mode, why wait until the finaly laps in the final race to “turn it up to 11”.
      Surely Honda and Renault should have been doing this as a learning exercise from about the mid point of the season?

      1. because the engine would fail after a few laps presumably, it is a reliability issue. in the last 6 laps of the year it does not matter if the engine blows…

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