By Elle Haus | In order to achieve Fernando Alonso’s status one must possess certain traits: dogged determination, technical ability and skill, strategic cunning and a reliable set of wheels at your disposal. Unfortunately for the Spaniard the latter has been missing since McLaren re-joined forces with engine supplier Honda. The results have been disappointing for a team of McLaren’s standing, and the same can be said for our man of the double champion’s calibre. With this on-track frustration reaching fever pitch this season, it resulted in some entertaining communication with the pit wall.
Chinese Grand Prix
The race stared on a wet track as the drivers struggled to get temperature in their tyres. Alonso’s irritation was evident as early as the fifth lap when he responded to a reminder to take a drink.
“I don’t need [***] drinks! There is just enough concentration to keep the car on the track, you know? Forget all the [***] drinks.”
I wonder if his answer would have been different had Jackie Stewart offered him a Heineken?
Russian Grand Prix
With two retirements from the first three races, the Spaniard was understandably livid when his Honda-powered MCL32 struggled to complete the formation lap in Sochi. When asked by his engineer to perform a reset “three times”, his temper flared:
“I tried already so try yourself.”
Italian Grand Prix
During an on-track midfield battle with Jolyon Palmer, the Renault driver cut the chicane and came out in front of the Honda. Alonso was enraged when Palmer was not ordered to give back the position and instead handed a five-second penalty. Later in the race, upon hearing Palmer had retired, the usually loquacious Alonso was concise in his reply:
Singapore Grand Prix
During the first practice session, Alonso was paying careful attention to his Renault-powered rivals. He also took the opportunity for one last dig at Honda, shortly before McLaren officially announced their split from the Japanese engine manufacturer. When advised by the team, “for info you are currently P7 on the times sheets”, the exasperated 36-year-old was quick to point out:
“For info, we could be P1…”
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
After crossing the line in ninth position and finishing 15th for the year overall, Nando let off some steam and delivered a cheeky prediction for the next season:
“I did some donuts, practice for next year”.
2018 will see McLaren begin a new chapter with their move to Renault-powered engines, and it will be a critical year for both the Woking-based outfit and the McLaren/Alonso partnership. The switch brings an air of confidence and high expectations that the team can once again be a major player in the world of motorsport. Alonso too is looking to challenge for a third driver’s title. Who knows, if all parties get the combination just right, then anything is possible.