Fernando Alonso, Alpine, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2022

I need better reliability says Alonso after engine problem leads to “kamikaze” drive

2022 Canadian Grand Prix

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Fernando Alonso says Alpine need to improve the reliability of his car after suffering an engine problem in the Canadian Grand Prix which he says cost him a second per lap.

He was disappointed to finish seventh behind team mate Esteban Ocon after starting on the front row of the grid.

“I’m here trying to be better than sixth and seventh,” said Alonso. “And I think this weekend we were better than sixth and seventh.

“So if we didn’t finish in the podium or P4, it’s because we had a reliability issue on car 14 and unlucky maybe with the Virtual Safety Car. But luck you cannot control – reliability on car 14 should be better.”

He said the engine problem was the only thing which held him back from a better result. “We had an engine problem on lap 20 where we cut the energy very early on the straights, as soon as we exited the corners.

“We tried to fix it but it didn’t work. Luckily we didn’t retire the car and we still scored a few points.”

Without his engine problem, Alonso believes he could have beaten Lewis Hamilton to third place.

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“Until that point, I think we were fighting for the podium. At the beginning of the race I felt strong compared to Hamilton, we just didn’t have the pace of Verstappen and Sainz but okay to control Hamilton and the Mercedes.”

The team opted not to pit him under either of the two Virtual Safety Car periods, which cost him time relative to his rivals.

“The Virtual Safety Cars, lucky or unlucky, that could change the race,” he said. “But we could still maybe [have been] fighting for P3, P4.

“But then when the engine problem came, it was just trying to survive. Trying to get the DRS, driving kamikaze in the corners before the detection, because the DRS was my only safety on the straights after that.”

Alonso was unhappy Alpine did not tell Ocon to let him past in the closing stages and pointed out he’d been quicker than his team mate all weekend.

“I could not pass. But it was very frustrating because my car was flying this weekend and I had one second deficit more or less on the straights and even with that I was still quicker on the race. So it’s unbelievable to finish P7.”

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2022 Canadian Grand Prix

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22 comments on “I need better reliability says Alonso after engine problem leads to “kamikaze” drive”

  1. His engine issue was unapparent from the outside & in his lap times.

    1. @jerejj It was definitely apparent in his lap times. He was doing low to mid 1:18s after stopping for hards, which was close to a second slower than what the Mercedes were doing, while he was capable of pulling away from Hamilton in the first stint. He was no quicker than Ocon despite being on newer tyres. Definitely had some drop off in pace, I just figured it was graining.

      1. SHR Modding
        19th June 2022, 23:14

        yeah he was on ocon’s tale the whole last stint but not able to pass with drs. same car same setup so theoretically he’d be past. but clearly lacking in straight line speed

    2. Yeah, he was two seconds faster than Ocon in quali and a pit stop ahead of Ocon early on in the race, but then suddenly couldn’t catch his teammate on fresh tires? Makes sense…

  2. He was already behind Ham on Lap 10, and behind Russel by lap 20. What is Alonso thinking… that strategy killed his race before the engine did.

    1. He was already behind Ham on Lap 10, and behind Russel by lap 20.

      Both of these pieces of info are false. I don’t understand why you would go around and state things like this if they aren’t anywhere near true.

      1. @mattds They are only false if you ignore the pit stops… which you can but why would you… it’s false representation of who’s in front. Failing to stop during first VSC has put him behind HAM, not literally but strategically and eventually. After VSC he kept losing time. Same thing happened after second VSC. Let’s wait until charts come out but that’s how I remember the race.

        1. As Ivan-vinitskyy mentions, the desicion not to pit during the first VSC was probably what cost him P3-4. Sure, maybe had his engine kept going strong he could have kept Leclerc behind (and wouldn’t have been weaving ahead of Bottas to get that penalty to drop further back), but the fight with Hamilton was lost quite early @mattds

        2. @ivan-vinitskyy @bascb as demonstrated by the two leaders, the decision to not pit under the first VSC still left opportunities. Sainz only pitted the second time around and if he wouldn’t have been up against a faster car on the straights he would have won the race.

          In Alonso’s case he had the faster car – he was up 2 seconds on Hamilton and up 7.5 seconds on Russell by the first VSC, so following Sainz’s strategy could/would have seen him behind the Mercedes pair at the time of the SC, with fresh tyres and a car that was very healthy on top speed. I don’t see why he wouldn’t have been able to salvage a podium or P4 from that position with that car, given his engine would have worked as it should have.

          1. You, just like Alonso himself, seem to ignore that Alonso lost heaps of time by staying on his worn mediums for too long, he started dropping back before his engine lost some power.

          2. @bascb the engine problem started on lap 20. Ivan-vinitskyy specifically comments how not pitting on lap 10 lost him a place to Hamilton already. I’m indicating how that is not necessarily the case.

            That being said, I’m not ignoring anything, because even while he didn’t pit until lap 28, he was still in P6 right behind Ocon and the Mercs at the restart. That means my entire rationale stands: if his engine would’ve worked at it should have, he would’ve at that point had fresher tyres than the Mercs, and a faster car with good top speed. Why would his race supposedly have been lost after doing that long first stint if ultimately he still ended up in a favorable position behind the safety car?

            Conversely, suppose they had pitted him during the first or second VSC to keep track position over either or both of the Mercs. Do you think given the engine problem he had, he would’ve retained that position after the SC with the Mercs hot on his tail?

          3. But in that case they would have been on more or less the same tyres. And neither Mercedes seemed to be exceptionally fast on a straight either, so Alonso on the same tyres might well have been able to keep (at least one of them) behind.

          4. @bascb given he needed a tow and DRS from Ocon in order to just barely keep ahead of an Alfa Romeo, and even then only prevented an overtake in an illegal way, I don’t think it’s all too plausible he would’ve fended off the Mercs without having the tow and DRS.

          5. Sorry, but that doesn’t make sense – when that happened, right at the end of the race, Alonso HAD suffered the power loss, while we were talking about the hypothetical situation where it would not have happened to him.

  3. “Esteban please let Fernando pass you because he was quicker all weekend and he deserves to finish ahead of you”. That would have been great, wouldn’t it?

    1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
      19th June 2022, 22:33

      Well, letting alonso through at the end will have been a worse team result. Both alfa Romeo drivers were basically within a second of Alonso. If he had let alonso through, he likely would have had at least Bottas pass him.

      1. SHR Modding
        19th June 2022, 23:17

        agree

    2. SHR Modding
      19th June 2022, 23:16

      well had his engine been ok he would have been past anyway. only reason they kept him behind is A) what happened in saudi and B) because he was the one with the engine issue so ocon would be held up on the straights if he could keep up in the corners

      1. But his engine problem was there, and it didn’t matter for the team points SHR Modding. Also, trying to let someone past when there are two cars (or three by the end?) within a second behind you is not a solid move, and prone to lead to loss of more positions. All in all, a risk for the team to stroke Alonso’s ego and not more. Yes, the strategy (VSC where HAM stopped really should have seen ALO in, esp. since he ended up 2 stopping anyway) was botched and the engine penalty held him back, but that’s what happened, and no fault of Ocon either who drove a solid race (without weaving to lose himself points at the end).

  4. What a horrible race for Alonso and Alpine. Even before the engine issue, they had already dropped the ball twice, by missing the pit window under the first VSC and then under the 2nd VSC. I feel Alpine was too focused on the cars behind instead of just focusing on their own race and maximising the result.

    A 1 stop was never going to work here, as it’s incredible easy to pass a car with worn tyres on the long DRS straight in sector 3. They should have been focused on a 2 stop strategy from the start and avoided these absolute brain fade decisions of not pitting Alonso when a pit stop was costing under 10 seconds overall.

    Even without the engine clipping issue Alonso would have reached P6, but with the right strategy he could have had a top 4 finish regardless of the engine issue.

  5. Strange. According to Crofty & Brundle, Alonso is blessed with infinite wisdom. How he doesn’t win everything forevermore can only be down to no one else being such a ‘wise old head’. Poor (but wise) old Alonso… Tragic indeed.

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