After three miserable seasons with Honda, the McLaren team were hoping for a miracle. It seemingly came from their new partnership with French manufacturer, Renault. Things began to look up when Fernando Alonso clawed his way up to 5th and teammate Vandoorne in 9th. Alonso even exclaimed joyfully on the radio “Now we can fight!”
The next couple of races was a mixed bag as both drivers were in the points for Bahrain. However, in the next 3 races, Alonso was consistently in the points while Vandoorne only score once. The Belgian’s 9th place in Azerbaijan would be the last time he scored points this season.
Alonso, on the other hand, squeezed into the points on five more occasions until Brazil. This was likely when their joy was replaced with a sense of false hope. The good news for them is that they have ended up higher than where they finished the season in 2017.
But, fast-forward to Brazil 2018, the tone of Alonso’s radio communications changed dramatically. When told that he was fighting with Williams’ Sergey Sirotkin, he inquired about the Russian’s position on track. Upon hearing the answer, 16th, his response was practically dripping with sarcasm. He said, “Wow! nice target”.
Later, when his engineer asked him how his balance was, the irate Spaniard screamed, “I DON’T KNOW!!!.” When he was informed about the other Williams of Lance Stroll, he said, “No more radio for the rest of the race.”
All in all, what a difference nine months makes on one team. It is now evident that Fernando Alonso will not get his swansong. Even Stoffel Vandoorne’s final race could be forgettable. Hopefully, their 2019 successors, Carlos Sainz Jr and Lando Norris can lift up the British outfit. The question is, can McLaren return back to becoming a championship-winning team again?