McLaren has been ticking all the usual boxes this weekend in Spa. Massive grid penalty? Check. Honda engine upgrades which don’t work properly? Check. Rumours of what Fernando Alonso is going to do next year? You betcha!
Now, following qualifying, Fernando has ticked another box, having made an outlandish claim which highlights how little power the Honda engine has.
Alonso will start the race from 11th on the grid, which isn’t too bad. But Fernando reckons that on the long straights of Spa the Honda engine deficit is so large that if the team had a vaguely competitive power unit both drivers would be lining up 1-2 on the grid.
“We would have liked to be there but in general it was a very positive day. In Q2 until the final attempt we were 1.5 seconds off on a track where we know how much we are losing with the engine, so we would easily be in first and second positions.”
A bold claim to make, but we all know how Fernando likes to make a noise about how bad the Honda engine is – like in Canada, when said the car was so slow it was dangerous.
Funnily enough he probably could have made it through to Q3 this weekend, but a problem with the battery cost him time on his final lap.
“The battery didn’t work and I lost six tenths from Turn 11 to 12. I was two tenths quicker than on the previous lap so I would have improved one or two more in the final sector, so we would have been in Q3 without any problems. In the end, starting 11th with new tyres maybe gives us an extra opportunity so we’ll try to take advantage tomorrow.”
Stoffel Vandoorne was a big help to Fernando’s Q2 efforts as the Belgian effectively sacrificed his session to provide a slipstream for him teammate in sector one. It made sense since Stoffel will have to start the race from the back anyway, and Alonso says he’s going to return the favour at the next race in Monza.
“We had it planned. Next week it will be the other way around because it’s my turn. We were trying to take advantage of the penalties, we have to find a positive and try to do the best for the team.”
So does that mean it’ll be Fernando with the million-place grid penalty in Monza? Who knows, but it’s clear that he’s still incredibly frustrated with the whole situation.
Maybe he should have a serious think about that offer from Williams…