Did Alonso have a fuel pressure problem or did he just pull over?

alonso_tj13

In any race where it looks like he will come last, he has avoided the wooden spoon by retiring the car.  The ex-world champion simply will not permit it to happen.  I can comprehend that.

Fernando’s fastest lap of the Silverstone circuit was a 1m34.263s on lap 22 that made things look quite optimistic.  We should ignore positions or penalties; Silverstone was about experimenting with the relative pace of the 3rd generation engine.

Regrettably, that was as good as it got.  A fuel pressure problem (earlier reported by Japanese press as a fuel pump) created another DNF for the Spaniard, who later asserted he would like McLaren to make a decision on its 2018 Formula 1 engine supplier quickly so it can focus on next year’s package.

As I have previously intimated, it is unlikely to be in McLaren’s control to simply ditch Honda unless they fall foul of performance clauses, but it now looks probable that they will.  The lap’s before Alonso’s retirement were was ordinary at best considering the times of the rest of the field which, in that moment, would have similar tyre wear and fuel loads.  His team mate and number two driver was a good 8 tenths quicker after the first round of stops, both having the same option tyre.

Alonso never really ever had any expectation of finishing in the points, he was anticipating “13th or 14th but in reality, it was looking like last.  His optimisms of improvements by Budapest are equally cool.

We should see this as the final nail in the coffin for the Honda bond.  I believe he took the penalties on the new engine tactically for Silverstone as a clean sheet on a fast track where traffic is rarely a problem.  To learn as much as possible for a final Hungarian push, have a contractual review, decide if legal obligations have been met on both sides and move on.  Hungry now, will be meaning nothing.

Isn’t this wait all so unnecessary?  It is fair to suggest that things would have to improve by more of a margin than seems feasible.  It would be the biggest turnaround in the history of Formula 1. So with the Hungarian Grand Prix being the likely “line in the sand”, unless Hasegawa San has a magic wand up his sleeve, it just makes sense in every way for both sides to agree on an amicable separation. Neale’s statement this week that “Contracts cannot simply be ripped up” is wrong.  They can.  If both sides of the dotted lines, feel the same it can simply be sorted.  This means Honda is unwilling to do it.

Why?  Because at this very moment, if they part company with McLaren then they are out of F1.

McLaren_Renault

The whole world knows that Zak Brown is talking to…well anyone who will listen, quite blatantly.  Jonathan Neale of McLaren is also happy to publicly declare McLaren is talking to other suppliers.  Let’s just get on with it.  The world is waiting to see what happens when Alonso can talk freely and honestly about his wishes for 2018.  The rest of the seats across the whole Paddock will then fall like dominos.

Renault looks like the most likely option for McLaren.  Mercedes and Ferrari will be too concerned about one of their power units bolted into the back of a McLaren chassis in case the package shows the works teams up.

Honda was going to partner Sauber, a certain deal that soured somewhat, with the alleged sacking of Sauber team boss Monisha Kaltenborn who had masterminded the deal.  Torro Rosso, the Red Bull B team, who currently run Renault engines are expected to sign a deal with Honda.  Why would you ditch a Renault engine for a Honda?  Hope? Maybe of a long term advantage, but almost certainly financial.  Honda will come with buckets of resources, and currently free engines.  Ferrari is expensive.

This does make sense in other ways too.  It would turn STR into a proper development B team.  Driver progression and development, but also tactical in respect to power units. Red Bull have struggled with the underpowered Renault engine for the last few years, and during the struggle were very outspoken (for new kids), sometimes in my opinion bordering on rude. I have said before that this could have been a contributing factor in being unable to find a replacement.  Mercedes or Ferrari would never put up with such insensitiveness, engine reputations are their business, Red Bull make fizzy drinks.

Should the Honda engine come good, and it is expected to, the Red Bull mothership will not only have first dibs, but also buckets of data, experience and testing to hit the ground running.  Another (reliable) 40hp from Honda and a Newey chassis and The Milton Keynes based team are in a championship challenging position.  I can’t see an engine coming from anywhere soon from anywhere else.

Ignoring the obvious it is fair to deduce that:

Force India

Stay with Mercedes

Stay will stay the same.  They are doing well and probably looking take over/rebrand soon.  Might be waiting for Porsche in 2020


Williams

Stay with Mercedes

Open to being a works team would probably love to have Honda as a best friend.  They are a winning team and have a good driver line-up but the lack of aero developments are letting them down.  I think they would need to get on the blower if they were to stand a chance of being counted. Maybe in a year or two.


Torro Rosso

Change Renault > Honda

Red Bull B team, becomes a development team / development driver program for Red Bull which is a bit lacking at the moment.  When Ricciardo takes Kimi’s seat at Ferrari…(!!)


Red Bull

Stay with Renault

…And watch, no other choice.


Haas

Stay with Ferrari

Too much development and learning. The time it’s taking to get brake ventilation sorted could spell disaster if there was an engine change.


Sauber

Stay with Ferrari

New team boss Frederic Vasseur is desperately trying to back pedal Honda power decisions made by recently fired Monisha. Vasseur seems to have been given the bank card and a healthy budget to get Sauber up the order.  It really all seems up in the air for Sauber at the moment and probably all hinges on which way McLaren jump and therefore determined by how many teams can be supplied by the manufacturer. Naturally, he is likely to prefer to stay with current power units, even negotiate a better deal. Rumours about Renault.  I still think Ferrari


McLaren

Change

Honda > Renault

Just my opinion… p.s I have never even won a tenner on the lottery


SteveBarbyF1
@F1Barby

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13 responses to “Did Alonso have a fuel pressure problem or did he just pull over?


  1. https://polldaddy.com/js/rating/rating.jsMcLaren’s only option is Renault. Ferrari will never supply them with engines unless it’s year old ones and it’s pretty clear that Wolf doesn’t want to supply them with M-B engines, unless he gets overridden by M-B’s board which doesn’t seem likely.
    The real interesting one is Sauber losing the Honda engine deal. It’s becoming increasingly clear that Honda had a lot more strings attached than was reported, one being that maybe Nobuharu Matsushita became one of their drivers. Looks like Kaltenborn might have had more drivers than seats again and when the owners found out – she was shown the door.

  2. On purely commercial grounds both Ferrari and Mercedes who both make high performance road cars ready are not going to want to supply McLaren who make road cars to complete with them. It was different when Mercedes did not run their own team of course. So it looks like Honda or Renault. Stick or twist? I’d stick even it it means losing Alonso. I expect red bull would love to get Honda!

  3. was reading twice but still don’t see any logic – one suggests that McLaren are going to ditch potentially improving free Honda engine and to pay for almost equally bad Renault with no future (yes yes, they will improve next year, no – maybe year after, like they always been promising since 2014) then at the same time Honda will pay STR with some crazy driver named Torpedo just in order to one day maybe to pay for Red Bull for using it’s engine.
    For sure McLaren have two options: Mercedes/Ferrari or Honda. BTW rumors say Renault is not willing to supply McLaren as well (because of “potential impact on reliability after adding new customers”).

  4. “For sure McLaren have two options: Mercedes/Ferrari or Honda.”

    Ferrari and M-B would simply supply them which year old engines if they were forced to. Renault could do the same. McLaren’s history is coming back to haunt them and exposing them for what they really are – privateers and nothing else.

    McLaren made a calculated decision to bad-mouth Honda, thinking that M-B or Ferrari would simply say yes to supplying them. Unfortunately for McLaren neither M-B or Ferrari saw things that way. It’s just another indication of McLaren’s lack of management understanding of how the sport works. I’ll bet Dennis is glad to have sold out as McLaren F1 looks like it’s imploding.

      • What I find interesting is that from around Monaco / Canada, when McLaren really started ratcheting up the anti-Honda rhetoric, what cards they actually thought they could play if Honda didn’t deliver. Clearly McLaren didn’t have an agreement with either M-B or Ferrari, so if Honda walk and call McLaren’s bluff, it’s clear McLaren had no back-up plan and if they do stay with Honda, it will be on Honda’s terms not theirs. Unless they can do a deal with a major manufacturer when the new engine spec arrives, they’ll join Lotus, Brabham, and a few other once successful teams that faded away.

          • Sorry I disagree. Without Honda’s dough and the drop in FOM payout, McLaren start looking like Force India, or is it Force One, in terms of revenue. They have almost no sponsorship and none on the horizon. If they intend to continue spending like they are now, Oijeh and the Bharaini’s are going to have to write a lot of cheques. It will also start impacting McLaren’s road car sales as it will be hard to claim your road car’s DNA comes from F1 when your trundling along at the back of the field. Hard to see a happy ending for McLaren

          • What about comparing pure numbers before telling how McLaren becomes Force India? Putting equal sign between €465m and €129.7m is a very bald statement even when some 50-60m from FOM might be lost

          • McLaren’s 2017 budget is no where near €465m. If you remove what they get from Honda – it’s in the €200M – €225M range. And according to a lot of reports €25M – €50 of that came directly from the Bahraini’s and Ojjeh.

  5. Never say never in F1. All manufacturers know how to play poker. How much money is a desperate McLaren ready to pay for engines?

    • So you think if Ferrari or M-B can squeeze another $10M out of McLaren it’s going to make any difference to either one of them?

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