Fernando Alonso, McLaren, Spa-Francorchamps, 2017

No evidence of engine problem in Alonso data, say Honda

2017 Belgian Grand Prix

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Honda’s Yusuke Hasegawa says that the engine supplier could see ‘nothing in the data’ to indicate there was a problem with Fernando Alonso’s McLaren prior to his retirement.

After dropping gradually through the field during the Belgian Grand Prix, Alonso retired from the race on lap 26, complaining of an engine problem on his car.

Despite Alonso’s claims, Hasegawa says the decision was made to pull Alonso out of the race even though there was no indication of any problems in the team’s data.

“After starting brilliantly, Fernando then had a tough race overall,” says Hasegawa. “He radioed in with what he thought was a problem with the car, and although there was nothing showing in the data, we decided to stop the car as a precaution.”

Following a good start that saw him running as high as seventh in the early stages, Alonso fell backwards through the field seemingly unable to hold off the cars around him.

“It was a difficult afternoon and we were not competitive in race trim,” says Alonso. “The car was too slow on the straights and it was impossible to have any battles out there, so points were also impossible today.”

“Eventually, we had to stop due to an engine issue.”

Hasegawa says that Honda will “continue to accelerate our development in order to improve our PU further.”

2017 Belgian Grand Prix

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Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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  • 52 comments on “No evidence of engine problem in Alonso data, say Honda”

    1. There was no problem with the engine? Then they must have a problem. That car had no top speed at all. It was 2015 all over again.

    2. I think it was pretty apparent he was faking it when he delivered the call of an “engine problem” right after hearing that his only option for competitiveness (rain) was not going to occur.

      1. But then again, it could be coincidence – I am more convinced it was genuine when I saw the video of him limping back to the pits. He did say they stopped it “as a precaution”, so it could have been a temporary stalling or loss of power in the engine causing him to worry about its health

        1. @kimiraikkonen1207

          I already had the feeling in Canada but I truly from now on believe Alonso is just giving up. I can’t blame him and he has a point but the fact that he is allowed to do that shows two things; Alonso has not made his choice yet and is applying pressure as one of the options seems to be quitting the sport. And 2: The team is his. Which is something of itself.

          If you want to save engines and such, fine, but he’s just fuming. So I’m thinking he wants to stay but Honda told him, we’re not going to improve much anymore. We will be the 5th team at best, our summer improvement lacks too much. But it’s pointless. Ferrari, Mercedes, RB don’t want him and Renault denied it. Then his only option in Williams but then again he didn’t want to join a customer team. So I don’t get this end-game of applying pressure or just fuming. Does he know something, a secret or deal perhaps?

          1. It seems unfortunately that my two favorite drivers currently on the grid (Raikkonen and Alonso) are just giving up like this, though as you said, I can sympathise with Alonso.

      2. I think the car was OK, but there was simply no reason to keep running to end up 14th of so.

        He has done it again I think: http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/2017/04/18/f1-fanatic-round-up-1804-3/#comment-3471545

    3. As someone who is playing the new F1 2017 game as a McLaren driver, I support the tactic of retiring from lost cause races to save wear and tear on engine components. Gotta choose your battles.

      1. I can’t imagine how frustrating it must be for Alonso to take the pile of garbage to P7 after a phenomenal start, and then drive at the absolute limit only to see cars blow by you with ease.

        Can’t blame him to publicly insulting Honda again and refusing to even finish the race.

    4. Crybaby
      Alonso, you’re a fake …

      1. Please go find another site – you have nothing constructive to offer here…

        1. Alonso is the one who have nothing constructive in formula 1. So…
          What I said was saying today by many experienced journalists aroun the world.

          1. Yes, of course, @jorge-lardone. Like all those experienced scientists who say there is not catastrophic climate change.

    5. Translation: Alonso got frustrated and quit.
      #Samurai!

      1. It literally says “we decided to stop the car as a precaution.” We. Plural.
        #ReadingComprehension

        1. Translation: We’re willing to cover for our star driver rather than publicly call him on his BS, so as to present a united face to the media and the public.
          #ReadingBetweenTheLines

          1. If Alonso claimed that flying monkeys shot out of his butt and forced him to retire the car, Hasegawa would back him up, because if there’s to be any chance at all of retaining Alonso for next year, Honda can’t go antagonizing their star driver right now.

            1. #PlayingChessWithPidgeons

        2. Precaution for what? Alonso is getting new engines at the next race, so what does it matter if this one had blown up by continuing?

    6. How can we trust Honda data that trips over when a driver lifts off one lap then goes flat out the next lap.
      Seriously the car has had engine problems for 3years.

    7. If the rumors are true and Alonso replaces Massa @ Williams I will be the happiest F1 fan in the world.

      1. Force India might have a vacancy as well.

      2. @dutchtreat
        At their current rate of decline Williams will be behind McLaren next year though.

    8. Alonso is a snake, a very talented snake, bad for him snakes are not welcome in Mercedes, RedBull and Ferrari. (bad for business)

      1. To top it off is a poisonous snake …

      2. @juanmelendezr1: Perfect comment really, nothing to take away from his talent and racecraft, but that’s his problem he made up over the years, which is too bad, there’s some people who say he isn’t so good, I’d like to see alonso in mercedes in place of bottas or ferrari in place of raikkonen for 3 races, would be enough to prove these people wrong!

      3. tgu (@thegrapeunwashed)
        28th August 2017, 7:52

        @juanmelendezr1 Agreed, he has talent to burn but no top teams are interested, so now he’s stuck at McLaren (a team he tried to blackmail!) wilfully retiring a working car. A sorry spectacle.

        I still love to watch him race, but his career has been a disappointment. I’d like to see him resurrect Williams, but I doubt his heart’s in it, but perhaps he could switch with Perez at FI: McLaren would get a much cheaper, but experienced and talented driver, and Alonso would get a Mercedes engine.

    9. Alonso publicly humiliate Honda and Honda try hard to defend him? Wrong move.
      Honda is in good bargaining position now with engine support from Ilmor and hybrid support from Merc they should have push Toro Rosso deal and made it their work team as a clear step to ditching McLaren in 2019.

      1. Honda humiliates themselves.

    10. I don’t think there can be any doubt there was a problem with the engine and I don’t know why anyone would question Alonso on it.

      It’s a Honda, isn’t it? Even if it was working 100% it’s still a Honda.

      1. The Honda engine is so rubbish that even when it’s working optimally, it feels like it’s broken.

    11. No evidence of problems apart from the badge on the side of the car.

      All joking aside, didn’t Alonso claim at the start of the season that he/they would retire the car in every race if they weren’t running in the points?

    12. @jorge-lardone
      has come to the wrong forums. He belongs on Autosport where they provide threads for the snowflakes to bitch about drivers.
      This site normally has the best/ most sensible F1 comment section online.

      1. @BigJoe
        Sure, best/most senbsible F1 comment like yours. Please!
        Instead of denigrating why you do not admit the opinions of others that do not match your own. That’s called tolerance.
        What I saiy about Alonso is what many experienced journalists are saying today all over the world. I read F1 sites in five idioms from countries in four continents. And you?

        1. I respect your opinion and your right to express it, but I do have an argument with one of your points. Just because something is widely supported does not mean it is true. For example, back in the day, many thought smoking was a good idea, but now we know that is not the case. Even so, there are also journalists saying the opposite of Alonso, and there will usually be journalists arguing both sides to an argument, so saying you have “experienced” people (who are just good writers with opinions like everyone else) on your side does not add anything to your credibility.

        2. @jorge-lardone
          what you’ve said about Alonso above:

          Crybaby
          Alonso, you’re a fake …
          Alonso is the one who have nothing constructive in formula 1.
          To top it off is a poisonous snake …

          I would love to read up more on this from the experienced journalists saying the same thing. Have you got links to share?

          1. Take a look with google.

            1. That’s not QUITE how it works @jorge-lardone.

              If you read a research paper/dissertation/case study and looked at the References section would you expect the author to tell the reader “take a look with google”?

              F- see me after class.

    13. Goes along with his fake broken axle and previous fake engine failures that Honda hinted at earlier this season

    14. Fred’s puppet strings are being pulled by Briatore, the most corrupt man ever to set foot in the F1 paddock. Who knows what is going on behind the scenes. Fred should do an Indycar season in ’18 and then retire. Flav has destroyed his career.

      1. I agree with your last sentence.

    15. The problem with the engine is it says Honda on it.

    16. I believe in Canada Alonso sensed the engine had an issue even though the team told him the data didn’t show anything abnormal. Later in the race the engine broke.
      In this case there probably was something amiss. He may have finished the race but what’s the sense in beating a dead horse.

    17. I am suspecting the same software problem he had during the qualifying. Where the engine management system fails to activate the extra power because “it thinks” that it is somewhere else on the circuit.

    18. I think people are not understanding.

      When Alonso says there is a problem with the engine, he just means it is garbage, and that is the ‘problem’ with it.

      He doesn’t mean there is something mechanically wrong.

    19. I think the comment from Honda pretty much sums up the problem.

      Instead of engineers poring over a computer screen, they should sometimes actually watch a race from the trackside.

      Clearly if the car can’t keep up with others down a straight (so much so that they are just flying by it), there’s a problem, regardless of what the precious “data” says.

      What they should be asking is why for 1 lap their engine could match the Renault one and then couldn’t get close a couple of laps later?

    20. The only realistic option for hin is Renault. Why would he go to Williams as a customer team. And Mclaren will not shift to Renault as Renault is still having a lot of problem and still nowhere near the Ferrari. Finishing 3rd on occasional luck.

      Mclarens hope is only Honda+ilmor. And Alonsos hope is pretty much the same or move to Renault and will take the same amount of chance.

    21. The situation appears to be:
      Alonso wants to stay at McLaren
      Alonso wants McLaren to divorce Honda
      McLaren wants to divorce Honda
      Honda doesn’t want to divorce McLaren
      Alonso will leave McLaren if Honda stays

      The bottom line: Everyone at McLaren wants away from Honda. Even if Alonso weren’t at McLaren, they would feel the same way. Three years have passed and McLaren is still a the laughingstock of F1.
      I hope Honda leaves.

      1. It’s sad that Renault are thew only option if Honda leaves. If a top tier chassis building team like Red Bull aren’t competitive with Renault, it will be less probable to see McLaren competitive with it either. There’s honestly no hope for McLaren up until 2020.

    22. 2018 Alonso to Williams
      2019 Alonso & Verstappen to Renault

    23. I have to believe that Alonso has thrown the towel to the ground. After a P6 and a Fastest Lap at Hungaroring, I dont believe the Honda engine has decrease it’s performance, so maybe Alonso is only giving up. Anyway the binomio McLaren/Honda is not the best, even that I dont think it’s only the car, the problem with Alonso.

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