Fernando Alonso, McLaren, Bahrain International Circuit, 2018

McLaren the only team to have no problems so far – Alonso

2018 Chinese Grand Prix

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Fernando Alonso dismissed suggestions McLaren had made a disappointing start to the season following his seventh place finish in Bahrain.

He pointed out the team is “third in the constructors’ championship and fourth in the drivers’ championship” after the first two races. “Maybe not [on] performance,” he added, “but I don’t know what exactly people were expecting from one season to another where the regulations stay the same.

“There were three teams ahead of everyone last year and this year they keep ahead of everyone.

“Obviously last year in three races zero points. Bahrain last year Stoffel [Vandoorne] didn’t make the start, on the grid he was pulling the car into the pit lane. This year [from] two races, four cars to the chequered flag, third in the constructors’ championship.

“If we look at the facts, not the feelings or the wishes or the dreams, if we see the facts, this is a very good start.”

While McLaren suffered several problems in testing and covered the lowest mileage of any team, Alonso pointed out they have got both cars to the finish with no significant problems in both of the races so far.

“We didn’t have any mechanical failure, we didn’t have any operational failure. I think we are the only team now – with the pit stop problem of Ferrari and the pit stop problem of Haas and the Red Bull retirements – I think there’s only one team remaining with no issues at all in two weekends, and that’s only McLaren because even Mercedes changed the gearbox already a couple of times. It’s only McLaren to have at the moment zero [problems].

“This could change quite quickly, unfortunately, but I think so far the start of the season is very positive. But I understand that the expectations are always difficult to meet when we are talking about McLaren and a potential championship fight.”

He pointed out the Bahrain circuit saw one of the team’s weakest performance last year, and predicted the team will be stronger in Shanghai.

“It’s difficult to know before free practice but I feel confident that here should be better than Bahrain. In Barcelona we were better than Bahrain, in Australia we were better than Bahrain, here should be better than Bahrain.

“As I said last weekend we found that theme also last year that Bahrain was one of the worst performances of the year. We arrived this year there, we didn’t perform well, so hopefully it’s just a one-off.”

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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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  • 35 comments on “McLaren the only team to have no problems so far – Alonso”

    1. The guy has a ninja point.

    2. “If we look at the facts, not the feelings or the wishes or the dreams, if we see the facts, this is a very good start.”

      He can’t be serious right?

      1. ForzaAlonsoF1
        12th April 2018, 18:55

        Like the man says, 3rd in the Constructors, and 4th in the Drivers – pretty bloody decent IMO.

      2. explain your shock…I find his positive remarks encouraging.

      3. Umar A (@umartajuddin)
        13th April 2018, 1:24

        If they lower the bar anymore at Woking, they might trip on it……
        Depressing to see how far they’ve fallen that seeing the chequered flag in every race is considered a good start to the season.

    3. No problems sure… But no performance either

      1. Well, last season his best score was 6th in Hungary and he has allready beaten that in Australia when he came 5th then 7th in Bahrain.

      2. I humbly disagree,….as a first season with new engine, not bad at all…I agree that things could change dramatically, but I have to stay positive and say its is great so far. We all know that MCL is known to improve throughout the season. Let’s keep fingers close that we develop ahead of everyone else in the mid pack.

    4. This kinda implies that once the others have sorted out their problems McLaren will have even worse results. Great!

    5. Well from a points perspective they have already scored 70% of their total point scored last year. This in itself will justify their move to the Renault engine.

      Honda and Torro Rosso seem happier together. The Mclaren-Honda relationship was untenable. Even if they had stayed together, I doubt this year would have started well, they seemed to have some fundamental misgivings on both sides. If you watch Grand Prix Driver on Amazon, its plain to see that things just weren’t right, the vibe was totally off.

      Going to Renault power has done and will continue to do Mclaren a lot of favours. Namely, they have nowhere to hide now, hence no more excuses. This will make the team better and potentially place them as attractive proposition for an incoming manufacturer in 2021.

      1. I like your optimism Jay and I have to agree with you they had to dump Honda….3 years of total failure left them no choice did it? I have to say I would be really pd off if Honda take Torro Rosso or RBR to the top in the next 3 years with the best power unit!!! The new regs cant come soon enough….9 years and only 2 teams sharing all the prizes is like watching a spider wrapping up a fly! Horrifying!! Fastest car wins though, doesnt matter how good a driver you are. #:)

      2. If you watch Grand Prix Driver on Amazon, its plain to see that things just weren’t right, the vibe was totally off.

        @jaymenon10 – Good point. I don’t know if it was the way the programme was edited or not, but I got the impression that McLaren and Honda were just not in sync. If you recall they had installation issues because of some bolt that needed to be reworked. It felt very amateurish, and the situation was only salvaged by them having the equipment to correct the bolt.

      3. @jaymenon10

        I’d love to watch “Grand Prix Driver” but even though I’m an Amazon Prime subscriber I can’t as the muppets have geo blocked it, so it’s blocked in Australia!

        Totally and absolutely bizzare!

        1. I’m from Australia and I finished watching it couple weeks ago. Did they geo-block it recently?

      4. I think that leaving Honda to become a Renault customer was a big mistake, regardless of how many points they have now. But you’re probably right in that the McLaren-Honda relationship was beyond saving. McLaren didn’t manage it well during those three years of hardship. Alonso wasn’t helping with his comments, and Boullier always seems very negative, too. Neither of them seems like a motivational leader, which probably had an impact on Honda, too.

        1. Boullier is ex Renault! Conspiracy Alert!! !!

    6. The regulations may not have changed but you kinda have changed your engine that you blamed everything on in the past seasons.

      1. Peter Scandlyn
        12th April 2018, 20:41

        You should have finished that with ‘and now you’re being found out’.

    7. MB (@muralibhats)
      12th April 2018, 20:38

      Count on Alonso to come up with something positive in the hardest of times. Even though useless.

      1. He’s trying to keep spirits up. Everyone knows there is not a single happy face in the McLaren garage right now.

        1. Top 10 most depressing places to work in the world.

          Today episode we bring you to the high tech McLaren’s facility in Woking.

          Looks can be deceiving, and they certainly are here, beyond the futuristic building, the luxurious landscape and inifity lake something lurks in the shadows.

          Stay tuned

    8. The perpetual hating on Mclaren is so tiring. If any other team had turned around like Mclaren did after the previous 3 years it would be a success story. The problem is the level of expectations that was created both by (a) Mclaren’s management and driver’s own comments and (b) the expectation of a historically great team to be back to winning ways. Mclaren started very well, that’s shouldn’t even be debated. The question is whether the can continue to move forward, and there is every reason to expect them to do so. If they don’t then we can start talking about disappointments. Also, what the hell do you expect Alonso to say other than be optimistic about the future?

      1. MB (@muralibhats)
        12th April 2018, 20:46

        We have scored more points than last year?

        1. MB (@muralibhats)
          12th April 2018, 20:48

          oh. He said that. :)

    9. way too early for journalists to be probing Alonso for an opinion one way or the other, it might as well be ‘only testing’ at this stage. Red Bull, Haas and Torro Rosso could all potentially outscore McLaren from now on, leaving them with the 11th and 12th best cars.
      At home in front of the TV, I doubt Alonso rates his chances of being WC again when even the 4th placed car last week was 1 minute behind 3rd place. I’d rather hear what Newey thinks RB’s chances are of winning a WC in the next 3 years. How long before he starts work on the 2021 car…..

      1. When I read the first sentence of your comment, for some reason I thought, why is it too early, did he just woke?

        Guess I need that morning coffee, brb

    10. Has Alonso being plucking his beard hair on the right side with the anxiety of thinking when to quit? or just from the boredom when not having to tell people McLaren will improve

      1. I finally have something in common with a F1 driver.

        I also weight the same as two of them combined, but I don’t think that counts

    11. Alonso and McLaren will soon be wishing they had kept Honda and their reported 60m. If they havent already.
      Coming from a Honda man who also happens to be Alonso’s and McLaren’s fan… albeit less of a McLaren fan after 33 years. The constant blaming of third parties (Honda) for their lack of success was tireful, especially since it came after years of zero wins with the best PU then available.

    12. A good start considering what they’ve served up the last few years.

    13. True that! It’s the main reason they finished so high so far. Looking how the RBR is performing, I guess the McLaren chassis is far from being a great chassis.

    14. Where is this imbecile looking? It’s woeful from McLaren, lucky points so far but the performance is more important and it’s truly awful…..then as he opened his mouth McLaren joined the unsafe pit release gang in free practice. Maybe he should keep his mouth shut and just drive but then we would lose the comical element of Alonso and McLaren promising the world and delivering nothing.

    15. I am a McLaren fan, let me just put that out there, I am wearing a 2017 Vandoorne T-Shirt as I speak. I was at Monaco to see JB race his final F1 race last year, and was there in 2015 to see both him and Alonso fail to really get anywhere with their Honda Engines.
      This doesn’t stop me loving this team, the McLaren brand and their road cars and history. For us in the UK, McLaren and Williams are to racing what Ferrari are to Italians.. only we’re less emotional about it.

      I have a friend who works for McLaren automotive in Woking, she is in marketing for the release of their new cars, has worked on the release of the P1, the Senna, and was involved in the stories behind the MP4-12C, 570, 650 and 720. There are ties to the F1 team, but essentially it’s a different building, but she tells me that the atmosphere there is as positive and energetic as it’s ever been. Losing at this level, being last on more than one occasion, in a sport where once you have the car, bad drivers can still get the thing into the points, but a bad car cannot even finish a race, is unacceptable. That makes their environment a challenge, technically, emotionally, but not the worst place to work. She tells me that no matter how the sales of the road cars are, or how many PUs Fernando has had to equip in however many races, none of the staff ever forget that they do what they love, that the alternative is a life in an office selling something they don’t care about or supporting other people’s success, or worse struggling to survive as so many millions in the world face in their lives. At McLaren, they win together and lose together, and all the while remember that they are the luckiest people on earth to be part of something so fundamentally fun and exciting, that complaining, being negative, are all signs that heart has been lost – this is not the spirit of ingenuity, sport, competition and technical brilliance.
      Zack, Eric, Jonathan, those guys take it on themselves. They are responsible, they have the power, and everyone else, their colleagues, are the foundation required to get them back to the top. I have faith.

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