Fernando Alonso, McLaren, Baku City Circuit, 2017

McLaren say gearbox, not engine, caused Alonso’s second practice stoppage

2017 Azerbaijan Grand Prix

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Fernando Alonso’s stoppage during today’s second practice session was caused by a gearbox failure, not an engine problem, McLaren racing director Eric Boullier has confirmed.

Sergio Perez, Force India, Baku City Circuit, 2017
Azerbaijan Grand Prix practice in pictures
Alonso said “engine, engine” as his car came to a stop on his 16th lap of the track during second practice. However Boullier told the FIA press conference afterwards “it wasn’t an engine failure, it was a gearbox failure”.

Teams can use non-race gearboxes during Friday practice so the failure is unlikely to lead to a further grid penalty for Alonso.

Both McLaren drivers are already facing grid penalties after changing more Honda power unit parts this weekend. Alonso has taken a new internal combustion engine, MGU-H, MGU-K and turbocharger.

Despite the setback Boullier said the upgrade introduced by Honda this weekend has brought a discernible performance improvement in the car.

“We have to compete with these guys [the front runners], not to be in the back of the grid,” he said. “As a partner we expect a certain level of performance. Not commitment, because they have it, they have the resources. It’s just the level of performance, which today we did another step – a big step.”

However Boullier admitted Baku has so far proved as difficult a circuit for McLaren are they expected it to be. The team’s leading car was 12th quickest, 2.1 seconds behind pace setter Max Verstappen’s Red Bull.

“The global performance is easy [to understand], you just see the lap time,” he said. “We are very slow this weekend, we are expecting to be slow.”

2017 Azerbaijan 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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  • 13 comments on “McLaren say gearbox, not engine, caused Alonso’s second practice stoppage”

    1. Sus,gearbox(McL’s traditional trouble),dashboard…
      The trouble caused by McLaren not less than Honda .

    2. Is this the reason why Alonso is again more than .5 seconds ahead of Vandoorne ? Alonso is /was running the upgraded ICE, while Vandoorne is using the ‘old’ one.
      I also read there was a big difference at the speedtrap between both, that could explain the gap (don’t have the numbers though..)
      Really hope both guys are allowed to push tomorrow and during the race.

      1. Most probably it will be the Marshalls pushing the McLaren-Honda :p

        1. It has something to do with the time difference but in other races they were running the same engines.
          Alonso is faster than Vandoorne at this time regardless of the engine – nothing to be ashamed of.

    3. “…we are expecting to be slow…” what a sad situation for a team with so much history. Pathetic all around. Alonso better leave ASAP. Go teach his pupils in his karting track…What is the point? He gambled big joining the Mclaren Honda adventure and it is time now to admit the gamble did not pay off, from a career’s perspective. Take in the losses and leave. It will take a long time for Mclaren to recover from this Honda debacle….

      1. 100% this. Could not agree more.
        Even if they make a huge step forwards, they will not have the fractions that are needed to win.
        I can’t see them having a championship worthy car before the end of Alonso’s F1 career.

      2. Omar R (@omarr-pepper)
        23rd June 2017, 18:33

        @svianna and then when he is at home in 2018, Honda pulls out a Brawn GP story and Vandoorne (or Button!) becomes WDC with Honda!!!!

        1. Nope he’ll be in a Mercedes.

    4. Omar R (@omarr-pepper)
      23rd June 2017, 18:34

      Has there ever been a case a car changes engine manufacturer mid-season? Because Honda is making all the merits to be sacked right now.

      1. @omarr-pepper Off the top of my head the last time that happened was in 1991 when Footwork ditched their hopeless Porsche V12 engines for Cosworths V8s.

        1. Omar R (@omarr-pepper)
          24th June 2017, 2:16

          V12 for V8? There must have been lots of empty space inside the engine cover after that!

    5. Errr… Doesn it really matter?? Alonso is still going to have stopage caused by engine failure in the remaining races this year, more than a couple of times.

    6. So Alonso said “engine, engine” on the radio out of habit perhaps :)

    Comments are closed.