It was another weekend of utter misery for Fernando Alonso and McLaren, as the Spaniard did not even make it to the start of the Russian Grand Prix as his power unit expired on the formation lap, the cause of the failure is still being investigated by Honda who appear to not have a clue why their engines are so slow and fickle.
Honda F1 boss Yusuke Hasegawa said after the race, “As soon as he was going on the parade lap we noticed a system failure with the ERS – the MGU-H wasn’t working. We tried the procedure to clear the failure but it wasn’t a success, so then we tried a power cycle, a complete reset, but it made the car stop.”
“It was an option [to come back to the pits] but it wasn’t the same failure with what happened with Stoffel [Vandoorne] in Australia. He succeeded with a power cycle and restart in Melbourne so that’s why we tried it, because we didn’t want to start the race from the pit lane. But as a consequence it wasn’t a good option.”
“I’m not sure [if we’ve seen it before], still we need to investigate it, but anyway it was a system failure,” added Hasegawa.
Alonso’s teammate Stoffel Vandoorne completed the race, albeit way off the pace and only bettered the Sauber drivers running year old Ferrari customer engines.
Nevertheless, Hasegawa saw the upside of a decidedly dreary weekend for the team, “It was positive. Especially for a young driver he needs more experience of long running, but obviously the car was not strong enough to get a point, which is very unfortunate.”
“The data will help, definitely. Running without problems on his car was one of the very positive things,” he added.
Alonso, who trudged through the pit access road back to the McLaren garage, was understandably unhappy with the situation, “It’s tough, it’s frustrating – every weekend is the same.”
“My power unit didn’t have the usual power during the formation lap, so my engineer told me to change some settings on the steering wheel. Unfortunately, that didn’t work and towards the end of the lap the engine shut down. My race was over before it started.”
“Not being able to take part in the race and not being able to finish any race so far this season is extremely tough. But Formula 1 is my life, so hopefully we can improve the situation soon,” concluded the Spaniard who has yet to score a point in four rounds so far this season.