Fernando Alonso just cannot cop a break with his luck as his McLaren came to a standstill shortly before 10 am local time and after the care was inspected in the garage they decided to change the power unit, thus curtailing valuable track time at the wheel of the Renault powered MCL33.
This will no doubt be a big disappointment, after a day earlier Stoffel Vandoorne clocking up record mileage for the team during the course of the day.
During Alonso’s first day in the car this week an oil leak cut short his track time and an engine change was also required at the time.
Notably, on the lap the car stopped the McLaren had just gone purple in the first sector, quicker than any other driver at that point of the day.
Clearly an engine problem yet again for Alonso who almost prophesized the episode earlier in the week when he told reporters, “Probably we need the last day to do some laps, to do some long runs, to check extra things, but in terms of fundamental answers that we need for the winter tests they are already okay, we have all of them.”
But then added somewhat cryptically, “So I don’t need the last day. I will be in the car, I will drive and hopefully, we keep discovering new things on the car.”
Shortly after 2pm Alonso reemerged and almost immediately popped up to second on the timing screens during an eight-lap stint, but a lot of valuable track time was lost to the Woking outfit.
Team racing chief Eric Boullier shed light on the issue later in the afternoon, “We had a turbo issue this morning which was related actually to the chassis oil leak we had [yesterday] – a consequence of it if you want. This is now under investigation. We have changed the PU, so the car is running now. We try the fastest way to get ready.
“We had an ambitious design, so we had to work with the time we were on the track and not in the garage to try to understand the cooling. I think we did a race simulation yesterday without any issues.”
“We are running now, and there are no issues anymore. We have adjusted our cooling and our needs to the car. So far it works,” added Boullier.
Notably, in the Renault pits, fellow Spaniard Carlos Sainz was also having issues that kept his off-track all morning – not a final day of testing for Renault…
Big Question: Is the ‘Curse of Alonso’ actually a thing?