While the hype surrounding Fernando Alonso’s entry to the 101st Indianapolis 500 lingered in the Bahrain International Circuit paddock throughout this weekend’s grand prix, the Spaniard was offered a tough reminder of just how deep McLaren’s Formula 1 plight currently is after suffering his third straight retirement on Sunday.
Alonso qualified 15th on Saturday after being prevented from taking part in Q2 due to a power unit blow out, with the Honda power unit showing few signs of improving in reliability.
McLaren’s entry in Bahrain was reduced to one car when Stoffel Vandoorne suffered a failure on his power unit while going to the grid, leaving the Belgian listed as ‘did not start’.
Alonso pulled off his usual trick of fighting valiantly with his underpowered McLaren MCL32 through the race, running on the fringes of the top 10 and enjoying battles with the likes of Jolyon Palmer and Daniil Kvyat.
A loss of power ultimately caused Alonso to retire with three laps to go, meaning that although the Spaniard was classified for the first time in a race this year, he is still yet to reach the checkered flag in 2017.
“It was so frustrating! We have a big straight line speed deficit, on the straights we lost so much ground,” Alonso told NBCSN after the race
“We were close to the points at parts of the race but we never had the pace as in China or Australia. We need to keep improving to be better in Russia. The power is quite important in Russia. We know the weakness of the package.
“We’ve been working very hard. This weekend we’ve had so much bad luck. All the power unit changes. We aren’t even able to participate. Fast and slow at times. When you can’t even start the races it is amazing…”
Alonso’s anger did result in a couple of radio gems, adding to the list of ‘san Nando’ quotes we’ve been treated to this year.