Fernando Alonso admits he feels sorry for team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne after the Belgian will take a grid penalty for the Russian Grand Prix after being forced to switch engines after more problems on Friday.
Vandoorne is already on his fifth MGU-H and fifth turbocharger of the season in just the fourth round of the year after numerous issues so far in 2017, and the McLaren Honda Formula 1 Team driver will drop fifteen places on the grid for Sunday’s race as a result.
Despite the issues and the retirements that have befallen Vandoorne so far this season, Alonso labels him as a talented driver who deserves better luck, and hopes that both can start challenging for points sooner rather than later.
“It’s incredible that you have to be penalised in the fourth race,” said Alonso. “I’m sorry for him because he’s a super driver and a super talent, and he’s having a difficult start in Formula 1, but let’s hope he’s lucky and we can both be close to the points.
“We’ve had a lot of retirements in these races and having these problems in practice doesn’t make you feel very confident, but the car is exactly the same it was in Bahrain, so if we had problems in the first three races we’ll still have them here and we’ll still have them in Barcelona, in Monaco, etc.”
Upgrades are planned for both the chassis and the engine over the coming races, but Alonso does not feel the team will show better form until at least the Canadian Grand Prix in June.
“Time-wise realistically it’s hard that we’ll have anything from Honda,” said Alonso. “From McLaren we’ll have aero updates and I think in Spain the car will be more competitive in terms of chassis. And in Monaco too.
“And in Canada let’s hope we have something from Honda so we can fight more seriously.”