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.”