A tough day in Mexico fo McLaren

Eric Boullier: “Some silver linings to today’s cloud”

Jenson Button was powerless to take the fight to the cars around him, despite a late-race chase of Carlos Sainz Jnr, and finished 14th. Fernando took to the grid in the knowledge that an MGU-H issue was extremely likely to limit his chances in the race. He duly retired on lap one.

Fernando Alonso

Started 18th
Finished DNF – MGU-H rotational sensor failure
Fastest Lap -
Pit-stops - (Started on Prime)

“We had an MGU-H rotation speed problem – it was something we spotted last night, and unfortunately confirmed it this morning. We didn’t have enough time to replace it, so we were left with two options: to race or not to race.

“We went for the first option, and tried to do as much as we could, out of respect for the amazing fans here in Mexico. I really wanted to go to the grid, take the start, and then just see what happened.

“It was only one lap, but, even so, I enjoyed it. At least we tried; it’s always best to try than to give up.

“It’s been a two long weeks away from home, with zero points scored. It’s been hugely rewarding to witness the crowds here in Mexico City though – they’ve been one of the best crowds of the season, brilliant all weekend.

“Now, we need to put this experience behind us and look ahead to the final two races of the season.”

Jenson Button

Started 20th
Finished 14th
Fastest Lap 1m23.006s on lap 49 (+2.485s, 15th)
Pit-stops Two: laps 30 (3.46s) and 47 (3.29s) [Pri-Opt-Opt]

“The Mexican fans should feel very proud of themselves – they've been amazing out there all weekend. By contrast, I don’t have many positive things to say about my race.

“The other cars were significantly quicker than us in a straight line. On the plus side, though, compared with the middle-of-the-pack cars, we were quicker in the final sector of the lap. They came past us on the straight, but then we caught them back up in the final corners.

“To be fair, however, I think we lost more power compared with the other teams on this high-altitude circuit.”

Eric Boullier - Racine director, McLaren-Honda

“Sadly, we knew before today’s race had even begun that Fernando almost certainly wouldn’t be able to finish it.

“Our problem was that the rotational sensor inside the MGU-H on his car had become unstable yesterday evening. It was therefore always going to be unlikely that he would be able to complete many laps this afternoon, but he vehemently wanted to try to do so because he’s an out-and-out racer and because he was extremely keen to put on a good show for the spectators.

“We wholeheartedly supported that aspiration, of course, but unfortunately his race lasted but a single lap.

“Jenson finished the race, by contrast, which was positive. What wasn’t so positive is that he did so in 14th place. As we’ve said throughout the weekend, this circuit doesn’t suit our car’s performance envelope, so we were never going to be able to trouble the scorers here.

“Having said that, there are silver linings to today’s cloud. On the twisty bits Jenson reported that he was able to stay with many of the faster cars as they lapped him, and our data bears that out. So we’re making progress, and we remain steadfast in our ambition to improve. Honda shares that determination, 100 percent.

“Finally, I want to pay tribute to the organisers, who have put on a superb event here in Mexico City. The circuit is an astute recreation of an oft-lauded classic, updated with both safety and spectacle in mind, and today it hosted a grand epreuve worthy of the name. Veritably, the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez is an excellent addition to the Formula 1 calendar, and, to the hordes of enthusiastic local fans who packed its grandstands to the rafters today, I hereby say: we’re sorry we offered you neither thrills nor spills, but next year we’ll be in the mix, mark my words.”

Yasuhisa Arai - Honda R&D senior managing officer - chief officer of motorsport

“The return to the Mexican GP after 23 years was a bittersweet weekend for us. I would first and foremost like to thank all of the team for getting Fernando’s car to the grid today.

“Yesterday evening we discovered his car had an unnervingly unstable MGU-H rotational sensor. The whole team agreed that we wanted to race, so, despite the risk, we took the decision to send the car to the grid. As usual, Fernando had a good start, but the afflicted sensor immediately went into fail mode, therefore we had to retire the car.

“Jenson had a difficult weekend, but gave his all in every session. In addition, we must say thank-you to Fernando for running solidly throughout the weekend, making the set-up of both cars possible for the race.

“For Brazil, we will first fully analyse what has happened with the sensor issues this weekend, and then prepare for the race ahead."

McLaren Honda

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Event Mexican GP
Sub-event Sunday post-race
Track Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez
Drivers Jenson Button , Fernando Alonso
Teams McLaren
Article type Race report