Fernando Alonso had a rant at his team during the French Grand Prix where he toiled all afternoon at the wrong end of proceedings, he finished way out of the points last of the cars running until in the end the car expired with a suspension issue.
Alonso explained how his race was compromised from the start, “I started this race on the back-foot, losing positions at the start as I avoided a lot of accidents around me. Too many cars ahead of me took a short-cut, but I stayed on track and ended up last.”
“I was still last after the Safety Car period, had a problem with overheating brakes, then used one set of tyres while running in traffic for nearly the whole race. Then, at the end, I had to retire with a suspension problem,” lamented the Spaniard after his third DNF in a row.
From the pitwall, race engineer Will Joseph gave Alonso information about possible rain and also that he could be in for a battle for sixth place. At the time #14 was in 12th and dropping down the order as rivals with fresher tyres powered past the McLaren.
At that point Alonso let rip over the radio, “Mate we have no brakes, we have no tyres, we’re out of the points… I try to do whatever but I don’t care too much.”
Asked afterwards about the tense tete-a-tete, Alonso explained, “On the radio the team was definitely overexcited, telling me the gaps with the fifth guy, the sixth guy.”
“I was last after the safety car and I had a problem with the brakes overheating, I had one set of tyres for the whole race because we stopped on lap one to fit the yellow tyres so I think it was a defensive race.”
Asked if it was frustration that prompted the radio rant, Alonso replied, “It was not frustration but we know that this weekend we’ve been quite uncompetitive. From the start, we had to avoid a lot of accidents in front of us.”
“People seemed to shortcut the circuit and nothing happened. We stayed on the circuit and we became last doing that.”
During the race, Alonso was sent spinning by hard-charging Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel when, shortly after the early safety car period, the pair got side-by-side through Turn 4 and clattered into one another with the orange car spinning in the process.
Alonso said of the incident, “It worked out well for [Vettel] this time, but other times it won’t work out so well.”
For McLaren, the return of the French Grand Prix will be remembered for all the wrong reasons.
Apart from the dismal display in the race, Stoffel Vandoorne was 12th, the whole weekend they have faced questions regarding dissent within the ranks at Woking which was triggered by former team chief Martin Whitmarsh who in an interview called for heads to roll.
Big Question: Will Fernando sit it out until the end of the season in F1?