Fernando Alonso has spent three years driving a grossly under-powered car, but his plight is supposedly set to end with the advent of Renault engines to be bolted on to the back of his McLaren next season and he believes that things will only get better.
At the Brazilian Grand Prix the McLaren-Honda package was visibly lacking straight-line speed which compromised the Spaniard’s ability to overtake in the heat of battle.
After the race Alonso told reporters, “We had a fantastic car but we cannot overtake. The lack of power was amazing. Even with DRS, Felipe was still pulling away.”
“For us it is a happy weekend but the lack of speed was alarming. Mexico and here we have been super-slow on the straights.”
“I had a fantastic car throughout the whole race, but, ultimately, I just could not overtake. We didn’t have enough speed on the straights.”
“I was very, very close to Felipe a couple of times at the exit of the corners, and I thought ‘now is the time I can pass him,’ but even though I was using the DRS, he was pulling away.”
Although the Honda power unit is woeful, the Renault brigade have also had a myriad of problems with their power units. Reliability has gone out the window, and running conservative engine modes has been advised by the French manufacturer,
But this does not worry Alonso, “Renault is the best engine company in the past 15 or 20 years if you see all the world championships so l don’t think we should be too worried.”
The common consensus is that the MCL32 is a very good chassis, by all accounts one of the best on the grid. This has prompted suggestions that next year McLaren may be able to slug it out with Red Bull,
Alonso’s teammate Stoffel Vandoorne, who is in a similar situation as the Spaniard, but also expects that next year there will be a turnaround of fortunes.
He said in an interview, “The team is already focused one hundred percent on next year’s package. Everything that I have heard so far is positive. The car won’t be compromised, even if it is a big change.”
“What we have seen from Renault is promising when looking at Red Bull’s results – their wins and podiums. Yes, it will put us under pressure – positive pressure because we will have a benchmark,” added Vandoorne.
Big Question: Will Renault power return McLaren to winning ways next year?