McLaren Honda Formula 1 Team driver Fernando Alonso is packing no punches in his scathing comments regarding the poor performance of the Honda engine during pre-season testing at the Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona.
Having had yet another unproductive day on Wednesday, albeit without any specific issues this time around, Alonso let rip at the Japanese manufacturer when speaking to the media, after a series of unreliability issues across the six days of testing so far, had left the Spaniard frustrated.
The 35-year-old slammed some of the errors experienced as “amateur mistakes”, naming the day one oil tank issue, which set their chain of failures rolling, as a particular faux pas.
“The oil tank was quite an amateur problem we had that day. From day one, we keep unlocking a little bit the situation in terms of power and in terms of reliability.
“When you do more laps you discover other things. Temperature in the rear caliper or whatever, bodywork that is not properly tight.
“Things you normally discover on day one or day two in winter testing. We do 40 laps every day, so we are like in day two of testing for everyone else.
“We are discovering those little things. There is nothing to worry for Australia, I guess. We’ll be fully ready to compete at a good level; the only question mark is how much power we will have.”
For Alonso, it is clear where the responsibility lies for McLaren’s dismal display thus far in winter testing, having spoken positively in terms of the handling of the MCL32.
“I don’t think we are too far back in terms of chassis side, we have only one problem: that is the power unit.
“There is no reliability and there is no power. We are 30km/h down on the straight, every straight.
“So when you are 30km/h down on every straight it is difficult to have a feeling on the car. Everything feels good, but when you arrive to normal speed you don’t know what is going to happen.”
Although the Spaniard does not feel the Woking based squad are at 2015 levels of disaster just yet, the double world champion has deemed the situation unacceptable, given the positive vibes coming from the Japanese manufacturer over the winter, and the effort put in by everyone to make 2017 a success.
Alonso has warned that there must be an immediate reaction to the current problems, and improvements must be swiftly made.
“I think it is similar to last year to be honest. In 2015, probably we were even [further] behind than now.
“Probably this year is a bit more frustrating because the change of regulations and things like that; you have higher hopes when you think you can close that gap over the winter.
“Definitely we need to improve and we must improve. The situation is far from ideal. We are a big team. McLaren has been dominating the sport for many years and fighting for the championship for many years.
“When you think about McLaren, when you see a McLaren, you are afraid of them when you are an opponent because you know McLaren will sort things quickly as a big team. So, this is what we need.
“We need a reaction from everyone. We need to stay united, working close to each other. But definitely a big reaction that I expect from the team immediately.”