Zak Brown warns current situation with Honda cannot continue

by Rachel Hack

McLaren Honda Formula 1 Team CEO Zak Brown says driver Fernando Alonso has once again been let down by a below par engine, and it has to stop.

The American’s comments came after the Spaniard was all set to take his and McLaren’s first point of the year at the Canadian Grand Prix on Sunday, as he sat in tenth place with just three laps to go, having stayed out for longer than most on his first stint.

However, cruel fate struck once again as Alonso was forced to pull over at the hairpin, having lost all power to the MCL32, when his engine lost oil pressure. They may have been competing in a different location, but it was sadly the same old story.

After the race, McLaren Racing Director Eric Boullier pulled no punches with Honda, when he said “It’s simply and absolutely, not good enough”.

Brown also struggled to hold his disappointment back at the fact that poor engine reliability had again ruined Alonso’s stellar efforts, as he explained to recently.

“Fernando did a world champion job again, and the engine let him down again.

“It’s a bit of the same old story, which is something that needs to get fixed one way or another, because we can’t keep doing this.

“I think he was clearly going to get our first – not even points – but point. It was good to see Stoffel make it to the finish, but I’m just speechless.

“You feel like you’re finally going to get your first point of the year, and a couple of laps from the end, it goes. Just really poor power, and really poor reliability.”

On top of the Canada disappointment, it is highly likely the Spaniard will now face grid penalties at the next round in Azerbaijan, having already exceeded the number of PU components allowed this season. Knowing that his driver will start from the back of the grid before they have even got underway in Baku, is even more of a frustration for the McLaren CEO.

“It’s pretty depressing for all of us. Starting at the back before you even get the weekend started, is not how we can go racing.

“All we can keep doing is pushing for developments. Nothing changes today – it just increases the frustration. But as we’ve said, we’ve got to get our act together, and it’s one more race that we didn’t.”

Brown backs Boullier’s recent criticism of Honda, adding that McLaren had to voice their opinion this weekend, to make their position clear, that this sort of performance cannot continue.

“I think it was important that we spoke up this weekend, it was really the first time that McLaren brought forward their views.

“I don’t want to repeat ourselves, and I don’t think this changes anything, it just reinforces our position.

“I think they know something needs to be done. They are frustrated, they are upset. I think today 400 million people saw what happened, so I don’t think we need to communicate already further than we already have.

“I don’t know what the [Honda] board thinks, but I think everyone thinks the same thing, just work hard to try to fix it. But right now, it’s not fixed.”

The American has also hinted that they may come to a decision on their 2018 plans, during the upcoming summer break, which will no doubt leave Honda feeling very nervous until that time.

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