Fernando Alonso hits out at Honda: ‘No reliability, no power’

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Fernando Alonso has hit out at McLaren’s Formula 1 power unit supplier Honda, saying its engine has “no reliability” and “no power” following a difficult testing program in Barcelona.

Alonso joined McLaren in 2015 when the team rekindled its partnership with Honda, enduring a difficult first season as the Japanese manufacturer struggled to match the offerings of rivals Mercedes, Ferrari and Renault.

After an improved 2016 that saw McLaren finish sixth in the constructors’ championship, hopes were high heading into 2017, particularly given a change in the technical regulations for all F1 teams.

However, McLaren has once again found itself hamstrung by issues through pre-season testing, leaving Alonso and teammate Stoffel Vandoorne to deal with stoppages and a lack of power on-track.

“We are not matching our expectations and we are not as fast as we wanted to be in this winter testing,” Alonso told reporters in Barcelona on Wednesday.

“We are not completing our program, we are not doing the laps that we plan every morning. We are missing some information with the lack of laps, there are always some items they go through to the next day. The next day we cannot complete the program, go to the next day, and now there are only two days left. One for each driver.

“So definitely a little bit behind schedule in terms of reliability, in terms of performance, but this is winter testing and this is what this is all about.”

When asked about the issues with the Honda-powered McLaren MCL32, Alonso stressed that the car itself felt strong, only to be let down by its power unit.

“The chassis, everything feels good, everything feels under control. The car is responding well to changes and everything is working fine,” Alonso said.

“I’m happy with the balance, I’m happy with how I attack the corner. I’m enjoying driving this car, so I don’t think that we are too far back in terms of chassis side.

“We have only one problem: that is the power unit. There is no reliability and there is no power. I think we are 30 km/h down on every straight.

“When you are 30 km/h down on every straight, it is difficult also to have a feeling on the car. Everything feels good, but when you arrive to normal speed you don’t know what is going to happen.”

Santino Ferrucci will drive No. 14 for AJ Foyt Racing full time in 2023 IndyCar season

Santino Ferrucci AJ Foyt
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Santino Ferrucci will return to full-time racing in the NTT IndyCar Series next season, joining AJ Foyt Racing.

Ferrucci had made eight IndyCar starts with three teams since his last full-time season in 2020 while also racing part time in the NASCAR Xfinity Series this year.

He will drive the storied No. 14 Dallara-Chevrolet for four-time Indy 500 winner A.J. Foyt’s team, which will field the car from its Waller, Texas headquarters.

“It’s incredibly exciting to be back in the INDYCAR Series full time,” Ferrucci said in a team release. “Being a part-time driver over the last two years has been hard for me, personally. I’m a race car driver, and I want to compete. Working with different teams has been exciting, and I’m proud that no matter which car I’ve raced, I’ve always shown speed and consistency. I couldn’t be more excited to join AJ Foyt Racing in the 14 Chevy. I can’t wait to make the best of it.”

Ferrucci, 24, had finished a career-best fourth in IndyCar four times, including the 104th Indy 500 in 2020. He was the 2019 Indy 500 rookie of the year with a sixth.

In nine Xfinity starts since 2021, Ferrucci has a career-best finish of 13th at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

“I am thrilled to welcome Santino to the team,” Larry Foyt said in a release. “He’s shown a knack for getting toward the front of the field, and I think he is a racer who moves forward on race day. A.J. sees the fire in him and has enjoyed their meetings together. I think Santino’s experience will help his rookie teammate as well, so he is a great addition to our roster.”

Ferrucci will be teamed at AJ Foyt Racing with Benjamin Pedersen, who finished fifth in the 2022 Indy Lights standings. The team has yet to specify the number for Pedersen’s entry, which will be fielded out of its Indianapolis race shop.

Foyt’s two full-time drivers last season were Dalton Kellett and Kyle Kirkwood, who is moving to Andretti Autosport.