McLaren's bid for the constructors' title took a blow on Friday in Japan when Kimi Raikkonen yet again suffered an engine failure but Renault's Fernando Alonso reckons the Finn has actually been lucky this season. A strange opinion perhaps, given...
McLaren's bid for the constructors' title took a blow on Friday in Japan when Kimi Raikkonen yet again suffered an engine failure but Renault's Fernando Alonso reckons the Finn has actually been lucky this season. A strange opinion perhaps, given Raikkonen's misfortunes, but the new world champion believes McLaren's engine problems could have been worse.
"McLaren have been very lucky again," Alonso told reporters at Suzuka. "A few laps more in Brazil and they break the engine there and we have more points. But they can change now and it will be difficult for us to beat them in the race even if they start 11th."
Raikkonen's fourth engine failure this season will again see him demoted 10 places on the grid in Saturday's qualifying session at Suzuka. Alonso himself has been described as lucky as he has often benefited from Raikkonen's problems but the Spaniard maintains that Kimi would have been worse off if the failures had happened in a race.
"I have been saying this all year, but nobody believed me when I said that Kimi has been lucky," Alonso remarked. "I know that it sounds strange but, of the four or five engine problems he has had, they have always been very close to the race."
"It's always been last lap on Saturday morning or first laps on Friday. If they had happened during the race before or on the Sunday then he would have had 30 or 40 points less and this would have been a big help for me for the drivers' title and for sure for Renault in the constructors'."
McLaren would need a one-two finish and have Renault score one point or less on Sunday to claim the championship. A tall enough order anyway but Raikkonen's demotion makes the task even harder. "Obviously I'm a bit disappointed with the engine failure which stopped my first practice session prematurely," said the Finn.
"However we managed to get some running in the second practice, and there is still plenty of time left tomorrow morning. The balance is basically okay but a lot depends on what the weather will do for the rest of the weekend."