Frustrated Alonso relives the spirit of rookie year with Minardi
You can't blame Fernando Alonso for being frustrated.
You can't blame Fernando Alonso for being frustrated. His finishing record this season with McLaren Honda reads: Retired; 12th; 11th; Retired; Retired; Retired.
He is pointless after seven rounds and in Montreal he suggested that he was being made to look like "an amateur", being requested to save fuel early in the race when he was trying to fend off cars.
It looks rather similar to his 2001 rookie F1 season, with Minardi, when his record was: 12th; 13th; Retired; Retired; 13th; Retired.
Clearly the potential of McLaren Honda is far greater than it was with Minardi and Alonso restated after the race that he has complete confidence in the team and its engine supplier to grow into title challengers in time for him to benefit from it before he stops racing.
But after a humiliating Canadian Grand Prix for the team that day looks a long way off.
When his engineer told him that he would have to save fuel otherwise he would be in trouble later in the race, Alonso said: "I don't want. I don't want.
"Already I have big problems now. Driving with this and looking like amateurs. So I'd like to race and then I concentrate on the fuel."
Afterwards he played down the "amateur" slur and suggested that his complaint was more about the timing of the call,
"When you are surrounded by cars trying to overtake you and you are in the middle of battles, fuel is a low priority in that moment and you will have time later on in the race to save fuel," he said.
"So after three or four reminders of fuel saving I said: 'Let me race now and have some fun and later I will think about the fuel.'"
He added: "Definitely when you are fighting and you get to a group of cars and they are 35km/h quicker on the straight they are like a different category.
"When everyone passes you so easily like that, you look like an amateur driver and that is not good.
"But we know we are not super-competitive now and we need to improve reliability so many things to do in our case but hopefully these weekends give us some lessons to improve things. It was not easy here in Canada but I am sure we will come back stronger."
The pressure is significant within the McLaren and Honda partnership, after both cars retired from uncompetitive positions with "unrelated exhaust issues" while Jenson Button was again forced to miss qualifying, this time completely, due to power unit ERS issues.
They have gone for a radical concept; it isn't working and they have just the points scored by Button in Monaco, where the engine has minimal influence, to show for the season.
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