Ever since they joined forces in 2015, McLaren-Honda have failed to emulate the success of their earlier partnership. During pre-season testing, the team was plagued by reliability issues. Double world champion Fernando Alonso believes that this was a core factor in the McLaren downfall. Now with the looming partnership with Renault on the horizon, its a new chapter for them. Honda also turn over a new leaf with their partnership with Toro Rosso.
The Spaniard said “I think the biggest problems we faced in the last three years was winter testing, because we came to the next season, and we started from zero. So we had to improve things a lot, and Australia was a test. China was a test and Bahrain was a test. And we ended up with a package, a power unit, that we knew more or less how it works. That put you in a position and a hope that next year you will start there, and the gap is closer and closer. And it didn’t happen. Every single season we had to change the philosophy of the engine, we had to change the turbine position, we changed different things that slowed us a little bit too much in terms of development.”
He also said that no one gave up hope and they still always working. Even if the team was eliminated from Q1, the engineers spend 20 hours in front of the computer to keep improving. The situation hadn’t improved much, but it was not for the lack of time for working.
He admitted that they missed being on top and they didn’t have the results they were expecting. They have not delivered on their targets an it was a crying shame. However he reaffirmed that they still proud of the work that the team achieved. This was despite all the difficulties in winter testing. They have tried to overcome all those problems in as short a period as possible.
No Hard Feelings
He continued “I will always still be proud of this project. Even if the lack of results will say the opposite, and will be remembered as a bad timing. Which it was, and it is now.”
On the eve of Honda’s last home race with McLaren – 25 years after their original partnership ended – Alonso said that working with a Japanese manufacturer was a special experience for him.