Honda unreliability “completely unacceptable” – Alonso

2017 Russian Grand Prix

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Fernando Alonso said Honda’s continuing unreliability problems are “completely unacceptable” after McLaren started the last two races with just one car.

“I still don’t know what happened exactly in Sochi,” said Alonso, who was unable to start the Russian Grand Prix. “We had a problem with the ERS system on the formation lap.”

“I tried to restart the whole thing during the formation lap a couple of times. But in the last attempt the car didn’t start.”

Spanish Grand Prix build-up in pictures
Alonso was the only one of the team’s drivers to start in Bahrain after Stoffel Vandoorne suffered problems on his engine.

“It’s really bad for us as a team not being able to start the race with Stoffel’s can in Bahrain, with my side of the garage in Russia,” said Alonso. “Completely unacceptable. We need to raise our game here in terms of reliability and hopefully finish with both cars.”

Following this weekend’s race in Spain Alonso will miss the Monaco Grand Prix to race in the Indianapolis 500. He said McLaren’s willingness to compete in races outside of F1 was one of the biggest differences at the team since Zak Brown replaced Ron Dennis.

“Ron had a fantastic time in the past in McLaren with a lot of success. Now with Zak things are a little bit more open inside the team but also for you guys outside, how you can approach McLaren now is different. In a commercial side, also in a technical side.”

“I think also with Zak the biggest difference is the vision and the approach for the brand for McLaren which is is a little bit different. He wants to expand the McLaren name in different worlds and different categories.”

“We see with the Indy 500 I think it;’s not only this year, I think McLaren will be with the Indy 500 for the future. I think McLaren will be in the Le Mans 24 Hours in the futureas they were in the past: the won the Indy 500 wehen they won Le Mans. That is the biggest change inside McLaren that we can feel.”

“Zak will not only concentrate on Formula One, he will concentrate in McLaren racing in different series and the most important thing is obviously to sell cars. To sell the McLaren cars you need to open to new markets and especially the US is the most important one.”

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    Keith Collantine
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    18 comments on “Honda unreliability “completely unacceptable” – Alonso”

    1. Fukobayashi (@)
      11th May 2017, 14:41

      That return to Enstone next year is looking like a lock to me.

    2. …and he’s not wrong. If an engine can’t be competitive then it should at least be reliable (and vice versa). The fact that after 3 years back in the sport they are still next to last even when they do finish is indeed “completely unacceptable”.

    3. Evil Homer (@)
      11th May 2017, 15:03

      Sounds like he is gone!

      Always reflective or even positive at the start of the year but Alonso wants out! He will do Indy and may not return…………. JB, cancel all triathlon entries until late November !!??

      Its really not good for F1 to see a champion like this!!

      1. Oh I think FA will see this year through, but I’m sure he’ll not be there (at Mac) next year.

        It’s not ideal for F1 to have a traditionally top 3 team be where they are and have to drag down someone who some argue is the best on the grid, but what are you gonna do? It is what it is for now and nobody wanted it this way. Very frustrating, but…

        I think only Merc will be able to set things right and give FA a ride worthy of him, while age is still on his side, and even if I sound like a broken record, until I hear otherwise I’m hopeful they take FA on as the racers they are.

      2. The way he spoke seemed to suggest McLaren have changed the way they view F1 and are now consider it as their main racing series, not their only racing in this series, maybe with a view to abandoning F1 altogether.
        I heard a saying sometime ago, I think it was from one of the commentators at a GP, which was “Win on Sunday, sell on Monday”, meaning a manufacturer who’s car wins a race on Sunday, especially a prestigious race, can expect this to influence buyers. The last time McLaren won a race was in 2014, so since then their super cars sales haven’t been influenced by a win in a car race. A good result at Indianapolis could be better for car sales than a mediocre result at Monaco.

        1. Last win was 2012 not 2014. After this year 5 full seasons without a win and 3 seasons without a podium. No constructors for 20 full seasons and only 1 drivers title in 18 full seasons. They will be like Williams if not worse. Thing is the expectation is there that they are a top team….they are not even midfield for the last 3 full seasons if nothing changes this year.

          1. Doh! Thanks for correcting me regarding the last time McLaren won a race.

        2. “Win on Sunday, sell on Monday”

          Feel free to fact check me, I’m going off of memory here, but I’m pretty sure that’s a NASCAR saying – a Chevy, Ford, or Dodge sedan being in victory lane once upon a time meant an increased likelihood of that model car selling the next day.

    4. I think FA will be at McLaren next year. Possibly not in F1 but in indy and sports cars. Only if FA things he has unfinished business in F1 will he continue, but what options are there?

      Mercedes, possibly if they don’t extend Bottas contract next year. It will depend upon how much FA will take in the form of a paycut to go to Mercedes. Mercedes with a solid driver like Bottas who will be much cheaper and possibly get as many constructor championship points as FA would gardener anyway.

      Ferrari, dont think so but possibly as number two to Vettel? Doubt that. Equal number one with Vettel? Possibly but can Ferrari operate with equal number ones? Not a good past record of having done so.

      Renault, their engines (as seen in the Red Bulls) are reliable but not challenging Mercedes or Ferrari in outright pace. Will they improve next year? About the same chance as Honda lifting their game (every chance but a huge gamble fro FA).

      So change to what team?

      It will all depend on where FA want to drive. Carry on in F1 or expand the driving he does into other categories.

      If FA no longer sees F1 as the holy grail and simply wants to go and enjoy driving, than he will stay at McLaren. That triple crown can be best achieved with McLaren.

    5. There is another scenario that could possibly play out. If Lewis Hamilton desire to be in music (and life generally) overrides his desire to be a F1 driver, he may well leave Mercedes and return to McLaren for less timew constrained indy and sports car driving duties.

      FA would be a shoe in at Mercedes if Lewis “retired” from F1.

      But it again depends on what either driver sees as their future. Enjoy racing cars in any series versus driving in F1.

      1. Ian Laidler (@)
        12th May 2017, 1:58

        Sorry can’t agree with this, if Lewis was to choose music and lifestyle over his career at Mercedes, then I think he would retire from F1. He may have a soft spot in his heart for McLaren but I really can’t see him leaving Mercedes for a team that at the moment is nothing more than mediocre at best.

        I have great respect and admiration for Fernando but his career seems tho have been screwed one way or another since the day he threatened Ron Dennis.

    6. “It’s really bad for us as a team not being able to start the race with Stoffel’s CAN in Bahrain, with my side of the garage in Russia,” said Alonso.
      Harsh words by Alonso XD

    7. Sadly joining Honda was nothing but rose tinted glasses for Alonso egged on by a nostalgic Ron Dennis.
      Honda can’t and won’t compete with europeans like they did in the distant past. F1 has made huge technical strides whilst Honda was away.
      Alonso made the same rose tinted bad decision on joining Ferrari badly mistaking how the lack of ‘Brawn factor’ would affect the team.

      1. The Blade Runner (@)
        12th May 2017, 8:48

        Sad but true. Honda have done nothing but devalue the McLaren brand over the last three seasons, as well as their own.

        There is a lot of talk about Ron Dennis’ legacy and the success that he brought to McLaren, defining them as a team in the process. The sad fact is that Ron’s lasting legacy may ultimately prove to be the ill-judged decision to ditch Mercedes for Honda and the subsequent nosedive that it has precipitated.

        1. Nah, the fact is it’s Whitmarsh, who brought in Honda in 2013, Ron get rid of Whitmarsch and returned in 2014.

          But I certainly can not understand the faith that Ron has been put in Honda, which seems to be based on the fact that Honda is one of the largest engine manufacturer. Well, Mcdonalds is probably the largest burger maker in the world too…

          Alonso is merely speaking the obvious.

    8. I think the worst part of it all is that there is still no light at the end of the tunnel. Honda haven’t made any statements regarding improvements to their PU because they are sitting cluelessly with the hope of charity from Mercedes. This level of incompetence really is shameful, and it’s just a complete waste of time for either of the drivers to show up for a race weekend.

      I think Alonso’s gone from McLaren anyways, regardless of if they stick with Honda, or if they switch to becoming a Mercedes customer.

    9. It’s time; time for McLaren to go NASCAR racing.

    10. The Blade Runner (@)
      12th May 2017, 10:37

      If 3 years ago Honda had intentionally set out to destroy McLaren’s reputation and its chances of competing at the top end of F1 then I’m not sure they could have done a more thorough job than the position the team finds itself in today.

      Alonso’s own predicament is a mere footnote to the bigger picture here. Honda’s ineptitude shows no signs of abating, as the failure suffered by Alonso today further proved. The McLaren brand, once second only to Ferrari, is becoming increasingly tarnished as a result. This is the same McLaren that, as well as enjoying a rich F1 history, succeeded in promoting itself far deeper into the public domain. Sadly the once regular sight of people wearing “Vodafone McLaren” t-shirts on the high street has become a distant memory. Even the most die-hard McLaren fans, myself included, now tend to be quite coy about their allegiances. This isn’t fickleness on our part. Just the inevitable “shield” required to avoid increasingly painful discussions about the team that we love that is disintegrating in front of our eyes.

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